Bonnyville Pontiacs main training camp begins today.
The Junior A club had their conditioning camp over the weekend in preparation for the widdling down process that training camp provides the team.
There is an emphasis on character and mindset this off-season – and optimism too.
Pontiacs assistant coach T.J. Millar said that the buzz around the “Yak Shack” for the start of hockey season is in the air.
The team has been busy this off-season, overhauling a franchise record-setting core for a new mix in the 2019-20 season.
The roster will be younger in some positions by adding Alex Marrocco and Cameron Newton two defencemen who’ll look to fill the holes left behind by departing rearguards Luke Albert and Sean Thomson, and more ice-time opportunities for A.J. Macaulay.
Josh Kroon and Cayden Shmyr came over from the Calgary Mustangs in a pair of signings as well.
“We’ve had veteran and young guns out skating this weekend in conditioning camp and the character of these kids is unbelievable. I’m thoroughly impressed with the high skill level and comepte these guys have,” said Yaks assistant coach Millar.
“With the start of camp we’ll be sure to implement our team culture and enforce good habits on and off the ice. With the new faces, we want to bond so we’ll start camp with team building before we get into testing and on-ice practices.”
Meanwhile, the Pontiacs head coach and general manager Rick Swan is away in Russia currently co-coaching Team AJHL at the Junior Club World Cup, along with point-scoring leader last season Marc Benoit, Jeremy Gervais, and Daine Dubois.
Team AJHL beat MODO Hockey from Sweden 5-4 in their most recent outing to even their record at 1-1.
They fell to Loko Yaroslav 3-2 in the tournament opener.
The Pontiacs annual Black vs White game is on Thursday, Aug. 29.