Junior hockey returns to South Grenville this weekend
PRESCOTT - South Grenville fans wanting to get a look at the new face of junior hockey in the region will be headed down to the Leo Boivin Community Centre in Prescott on Saturday night.
The puck drops on the much-anticipated next era of junior hockey as the inaugural National Capital Junior Hockey League (HCJHL) edition of the South Grenville Rangers take on the North Dundas Rockets in exhibition play. The game will be the Rangers' first appearance before their home-town fans.
Coming off of an earlier loss to the Rockets, South Grenville General Manager Andrew Dickson expects Saturday's tilt to be the first of what should develop into many heated contests.
"Our rivalry has already started with North Dundas," Dickson explains. "They are a powerhouse team and they set the bar very high in this league."
Saturday night's roster will give the fans a glimpse into the makeup on the Ranger squad.
"We (the team) will be about 85 percent full...with leaving a few positions available before the season opening," states the GM, adding he has been pleased with the growth of the team during recent development camps. "We know it's going to be a process, and there have been several surprises, but we are sound. We have to learn our team game and find our identity, but overall we are very excited," he says.
Dickson expects the team to continue to develop over the course of the season's 33-game schedule.
"People will see how good the hockey in this league is and we are preparing ourselves accordingly" he hints. "We are a young team that won't quit...and we are a team that is built for our fans."
Lucas Stitt, Head of Hockey Operations for the fledgling Ranger team, echoes Dickson's assessment.
"I'm excited to see where the season takes us," Stitt says, pointing out the situation that the team enters the league under. "It has been an enjoyable experience so far, building a team from scratch, but it also comes with challenges. Other teams are, by majority, returning players with junior experience. Therefore, we must quickly adapt and grow as a team to compete. We have a great group of young men who make this experience rewarding. It's been fun to get to know them over the past month and I believe our community will get behind this team as well."
Game time Saturday is 7:00 p.m.