Pontiacs Prepare for 25th Year on the Ice
There will be a definite influx of young men in Bonnyville over the next week, as the Bonnyville Jr A Pontiac’s main camp gets underway. Sixty young hopefuls will be in town trying out for the team, says Head Coach for the Pontiacs, Rick Swan.
“We’ll have 60 kids coming in, from all across North America,” and beyond, explains Swan, “we have a player coming in from Copenhagen, Denmark. He’s part of the Danish National team.” Swan says the club have worked extremely hard to become a prestigious team that attracts talent from all parts of the world; including locally. Swan expects six locals to be making an appearance at the main camp. “Last year we had the two Pasichnuks, who were home grown and we had five additional local players. This year we have Brayden Goulet, he’s a local player and was the Captain of Lloydminister last year. He’s going get a great opportunity with us. And we have the additional five local players; so we’ll have six locals.”
This year is the deepest group, that we’ve ever had, in our franchise history. It’s fitting that this is our 25th Anniversary and this is the strongest group we’ve ever had! – Rick Swan Head Coach Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs
Of the 60 who will try-out next weekend, during the main camp, the roster will shrink to 25, explains Swan. “We can carry 25 kids up-until December 1st, then we have to knock that down to 23. The pressure is on the coaching staff, we have 60 kids that we believe can play at the AJHL level and we have to get down to 25. It’s going to be a daunting task for us.” Swan says it’s a hard task, but it’s one he’s excited for, “there was a time when Bonnyville wasn’t the destination of choice for skilled hockey players; that’s all changed. There’s something about our town and our culture, that we’ve created over the past couple years, that now we’ve become first-choice for player.”
It’s a gut-wrenching thing as a coach to release it done to 25. But what a great thing it is for our organization, knowing for the first time we’re in the situation that we’re going to have to let good players go. – Rick Swan Head Coach Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs
In the spring the Pontiacs held a Top Prospects Camp that invited hopefuls to skate with veterans, a system unique to the Pontiacs. Of the 60 kids coming to the main camp, Swan confirms around 40 attended the spring camp. “It was the best recruiting season we’ve had.” Thanks to the Top Prospects Camp and a lot of attention from the previous season, the Pontiacs will have their share of players to choose from next weekend. “We’ve never been so deep in main camp before,” Swan says there’s three goaltenders attending the camp this year.
The main camp will run Friday, August 26th through Sunday August 28th; with the Milton Romanchuk Black & White game being held on Monday August 29th. The game will give the public the first look at the potential roster and take the line-up from 40 to 25. The public is invited to stop by the RJ Lalonde arena during the weekend to catch the action.
Swan says the anticipation for next weekend is already growing. “Our veteran should be here this weekend to get fitness tested and go over what we require of them this season,” on Saturday the parents, players, Board Members, Billets and Pontiac sponsors are invited for a meet-n-greet BBQ, at the Pontiacs’ Lounge at 6:00 pm. There will be returning players, Pontiacs coaching staff, and organization members on hand.
Becoming a Pontiac sponsor really has it’s perks! If you would like to learn more about supporting your community, and growing this fine hockey program, contact Chad at 780-404-6728.