Urbandale (IA) No games are played in United States Hockey Leagues at this time of the year but it may very well be a spot in the calendar where those with the most success are determined. The arrival of June brings with it the annual tryout camps for USHL teams including the Des Moines Buccaneers who hope to whittle away at dozens of prospective players in an effort to build a contending team. In the course of the last few weeks, the Buccaneers have hired a new coaching staff, participated in both the Future's and Entry Draft, and have invited more than 100 prospective players to Central Iowa for the Tryout Camp scheduled for next weekend.
Off the ice, preparations are moving along with the arrival of new sponsors to coincide with the return of many long time partners. Efforts to complete the USHL schedule in a few weeks are progressing and changes to Buccaneer Arena are also going forward.
More than 100 players, many traveling with family and friends, will be in Des Moines for the team's annual tryout camp June 14-17 led by new head coach Jon Rogger. Players will be separated into one of six teams that will play games against each other allowing the coaching staff a chance to see what they have to offer. Each mini-team will play three games leading into All-Star Games on Saturday June 16th at 7pm and Sunday June 17th at 10am.
A complete schedule can be found at bucshockey.com and all sessions are open to the public.
The 2012-2013 Buccaneers' roster will not be finalized at this camp but it will be an opportunity for Rogger to narrow down a list of players to invite to training camp in September where the final roster is selected.
Players coming to Des Moines include veterans, those selected in the Future's and Entry Drafts and free agents.
The tryout camp brings in an estimated 250 people to Central Iowa for the weekend.
At this point, only one former Des Moines Buccaneer has their name on the Stanley Cup and that is 1990s Buccaneer great Erik Cole who was a member of the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes. A pair of alumni are hoping to join Cole this June as the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils compete in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals.
Davis Drewiske and Trevor Lewis are members of the LA Kings, both playing in their fourth professional seasons. Drewiske has been limited by injuries and hasn't played in a game since February, but Lewis has been a regular in the Kings' line-up serving as both a second and third line forward. He has 6pts (1g, 5a) in 16 playoff games.
Defenseman Nick Seeler earned the Des Moines Buccaneers' lone USHL honor this season when he was selected to the All-Rookie team announced by the league office in late May. The Minnesota native, and University of Nebraska-Omaha recruit, joined the Bucs in a trade in late January from Muskegon and was a stalwart on the blueline.
Seeler was a fifth round pick of the Minnesota Wild in the NHL Entry Draft last June and is expected to begin his collegiate career in Omaha this Fall.
The Buccaneers announced in late May plans to resurrect the team's Hall of Fame which has been dormant since 2002. Plans include placing a permanent display inside the arena, developing a long-lasting selection process and creating an annual Hall of Fame weekend that brings back alumni.
Fans are encouraged to participate in the new Hall of Fame committee that will begin meeting during the summer. Those interested should call Scott Montesano at 278-2827 ext 7027 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Buccaneer mascot Winger has already had his Saturdays loaded with public events and that trend will continue throughout the summer. After going into retirement a few years ago and stepping aside to allow Bucky to go out to events, Winger has returned this season to reprise his goodwill ambassadorship to fans in the region.
Winger has already attended the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, the Duck Derby, Kidney Foundation Walk and MS Walk in the month of May and fans can look for him at these upcoming events...
Saturday June 9th @ Ovarian Cancer Research Walk at Raccoon River Park
Saturday June 16th @ Heart Walk on State Capitol Grounds
Saturday June 30th @ Rescue Dog Awareness Run at Raccoon River Park
The Des Moines Buccaneers are preparing for their 33rd consecutive season in the United States Hockey League beginning in the Fall of 2012. Since 1980, the Buccaneers have produced hundreds of NCAA Division I players and dozens of professional alumni. Season Ticket Packages and Corporate Partnership information for the 2012-2013 season is available by calling (515) 278-2827.