The Battlefords North Stars first day of training camp is in the books. I had a chance to get down to the rink for some of the on ice sessions as there were two practices. The players have been split up into two teams, white and black, and each team skated this afternoon. They will play a couple of scrimmages tomorrow.
First thing I should mention is the news regarding Tanner Schwab. Schwab has decided not to return for his 20 year old season and for lack of a better way of putting it has retired from junior hockey. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Tanner about the decision. Coach Hasselberg said that the North Stars wish him all the best in his future endeavors. He also said they will have to move on and try to fill that spot in the lineup.
For me personally it’s too bad because Schwab is a good kid and a guy who could have had a big season. He’s also a local kid and it is always nice having players from the Battlefords representing the North Stars. After losing Brett Miller, Blake Tatchell and Boyd Wakelin from last season’s squad the North Stars now lose another local product. And of course Jared Samborski retired due to injury. So that’s 5 local players from last years team, 2 of whom were eligible to return, who won’t be back this season.
The North Stars may miss Tanner’s offense this season. But junior hockey is a grind. A lot of bus travel. A lot of work with practices and everything else. I think you need a lot of passion to play junior hockey and if that passion goes away it’s tough. So I would like to echo the North Stars and wish Schwabby the best moving forward. Hopefully this works out well for both the North Stars and Schwab.
And the North Stars will have to move forward. One guy who could benefit is Brandon Long. He was acquired via trade earlier this offseason. He looked sharp on the ice today and I am looking forward to seeing more of him as the weekend moves along. In fact all of the returning guys looked sharp today. Which isn’t a shock. They knew what to expect and what was expected of them and they didn’t disappoint. It was good to see Roger Tagoona, Braeden Johnson, Kyle Hall, Tanner Quinn, Robbie Newton and Ryne Keller up front. And on the back end Dillon Forbes and Matt Sheeran. It was also good to see Grayden Turner. He was in and out of the lineup last season for the Stars and finished the season playing Junior ‘B’. Turner is back again this season to try and cement a place on the team full time.
It’s VERY early but everyone of the returning players I spoke with, and the coaching staff as well, liked what they saw on the ice today.
Two returning players who were not on the ice were Connor Creech and Brody Luhning. Both guys had some personal matters to attend to and will be here in the next few days. Creech will be in town Sunday and Luhning sometimes in the middle of next week. Of course last season the North Stars started the season without Luhning who was with the Pats. I believe Robbie Newton was another guy who was in a WHL camp at the start of last season. There are some guys who could come to the North Stars if they don’t make their WHL teams. But I don’t have any names on that front at this point.
Tomorrow is a big day. There are spots available on this team. And with a couple of scrimmages there are players out there who will be looking to impress. I will have more sometime tomorrow and I will do my best to get a little more info on some of the new faces in camp.