This is a long holiday weekend, at least in the city, province and country where I reside. So before I get the backyard and garage ready for a family barbecue that my wife and I will be hosting, let's make a few stops around the North ... Read More...
After a summer of upheaval, members of the Port Huron Fighting Falcons will finally get a chance to get back on the ice this weekend at their main camp in Mount Clemens.
For the returning players, it will be the first time skating for new coach Steve Shannon. He took over from Bill Warren not long after the club finished a season where it won a divisional title.
“No one really knows what’s going to happen, what everything is going to be like,” Falcons defenseman Alex Archibald said. “Obviously, it’s going to be different. I’m really interested to see what’s going to happen with the team and the coaches.
“I hope to see it be pretty much like last year. … I think everyone is going to try and give it a chance and is looking forward to seeing what it’s like.”
Camp begins today and runs through Sunday. Shannon said the campers will be broken into four teams, each with at least three forward lines and three defensive pairings. There also will be nine goaltenders on hand, including returner Max Milosek.
Shannon wants to have the roster whittled down to 25 players after this weekend. The team enters training camp Aug. 20.
“I’m looking forward to camp, and I think there will be a lot of competition,” he said. “I’m anxious to see some of the players from last year.”
It took some work, however, for Shannon to get last year’s players on board, as many were stung by the sudden departure of Warren, who had led them to the North American Hockey League North Division title and a berth in the Robertson Cup tournament.
“Initially, there was disappointment, which is to be expected,” Shannon said. “After several lengthy conversations, things to this point seem to have worked out. We’ll just have to wait and see if there are any further issues that pop up. If there are any issues that come up, we’ll address them accordingly as they occur.”
Archibald said he initially was looking for somewhere else to play, but in the end, came back to Port Huron.
“I always still kind of wanted to stay here,” he said.
Most eligible returning Falcons players will be at the camp, as will the club’s tenders, draft picks and other players identified at previous camps.
Two standouts who will not return are Brett D’Andrea and Nolan Valleau. Both made the training camp roster of a United States Hockey League team.
“We’re going to try and get it down to fighting weight as quick as possible, in terms of numbers,” Shannon said. “That, I believe, better suits us as an organization. It also helps out whoever doesn’t make the team, so they can move on, and we can do what we can to help facilitate that.”
NOTES: The Falcons are offering a promotion for season tickets in which playoff tickets will be free for season-ticket holders. ... Shannon said the club is looking for an intern. Those interested can visit www.phfightingfalcons.com or call (810) 966-3800.