By Greg Sabatino - Williams Lake Tribune
Published: September 23, 2010 8:00 AM
If the leaves beginning to fall from the trees and the colder weather werent enough, another sure sign summer has come to an end is the Williams Lake Stampeders are back on the ice and preparing for the upcoming Central Interior Hockey League Season.
The senior mens AA team has been hosting open tryouts since the beginning of September, and is set to make its return to the ice tonight at the Cariboo Memorial Complex for an intrasquad game, beginning at 9 p.m. Stampeders general manager Don Hanson says tryouts went well and the team will likely decide on a final roster following tonights intrasquad game, or at least by the end of the week.
Well have a strong team this year, Hanson says. Our goaltending is on the top end, weve got a few new guys and the nucleus of our team last year is here.
Theyre bigger, and far faster. Were going to have three very, very strong lines, and our fourth line will be our checking line, which is also no slouch.
Back this year are several veterans who helped the Stampeders win the teams first Coy Cop provincial championship in 2009, along with last years 2010 CIHL Rio Tinto Alcan Cup Championship.
Returning players include: Jared Kohlen, Aaron Zurak, Stu Sasges, Nathan Zurak, Francis Johnson, Wilf Robbins, Robin Gilbert, Dino Lecomte, Matt Lees, Brent McIsaac, Paul Girodat, goaltender Justin Foote, goaltender Willie Sellars, goaltender Duncan Peeman, Dave Cadsand, Jason Wright, Dan Kirkham and Anthony Robbins.
A number of new hopefuls also have Hanson excited about the upcoming season.
Weve got a young fellow from Sweden [Chris Bohlin] hes an exchange student at Columneetza we just need to figure out how were going to sign him and what the regulations are with BCHA, Hanson says. Hes 18, hes a good hockey player, hes been around a bit and I dont think hes going to have any trouble making the team.
Other hopefuls include a Quesnel tandem Curtis Gassoff and Alessio Tomassetti as well as locals Dervy Johnny, Glen Camille, Gino DAppolonia and Terry Duff.
The Stampeders are slated to open their season Oct. 2-3 on the road against the Burns Lake Braves for a two-game set.
Following that, the Stamps play their first two home games on Oct. 16 and 17 versus the Houston Luckies.
Asked who should provide the toughest competition in the CIHLs East Division, Hanson said its tough to predict, but thinks the Smithers Steelheads could have a strong club this season.
Ive got a feeling it will be between us and Smithers when it comes down to the crunch, he says.
Tonight, when Stampeders team green takes on Stampeders team white during the intrasquad game, players will be looking to make an impact.
Admission to the game, beginning at 9 p.m. in rink one at the complex, is by donation with all of the proceeds going to the Hough Memorial Cancer Society.