Lakers pleased to be hosting ‘Showcase’

Jamie Mountain

Opportunities like this don’t come around all that often.
That’s the case for the Fort Frances Lakers who–for the first time in team history–were selected to host the annual SIJHL “Showcase,” which will run Jan. 30-31 at the Ice For Kids Arena.
The event will see all six SIJHL teams play two games apiece over those two days, and they will do so in college, junior, and pro scouts looking to bolster their ranks down the road.
“It’s great for our organization,” enthused Lakers’ head coach and general manager Wayne Strachan.
“We’re well-deserving of being the host and hopefully we’ll be able to attract a lot of scouts and schools up here to watch the players.”
Strachan also believes an event like this can go a long way for some of the younger players in the SIJHL looking to advance their respective hockey careers past the junior ‘A’ level.
“It’s definitely huge for the players, and hopefully they’ll realize that and rise to the occasion,” he remarked.
“Usually our teams in the past that have played at the “Showcase” tournaments have done a good job and sometimes we’ve played our best hockey of the season at them,” Strachan recalled.
“So we’ll look for that.
“And the guys will have to realize that it’s about them and for them, and if they come to play and show their ability in what they can do, then maybe someone will notice them and give them that chance to continue their careers as student athletes,” he added.
Players sure to be of interest on the Lakers include forwards Nick Lucas and Jaedin Ness, along with defenceman Charlie Wilkie.
The “Showcase” had been held in Minnesota for the last several seasons as that was considered a more central location for the scouts to gather, with many of them affiliated with U.S.-based teams.
Tuesday’s games will see the Minnesota Iron Rangers facing the Dryden GM Ice Dogs at 1 p.m., followed by the English River Miners against the Thief River Falls Norskies at 4:15 p.m.
The Lakers and Thunder Bay North Stars then will cap the day at 7:30 p.m.
Then on Wednesday, the North Stars will take on the Miners at 1 p.m., followed by the Norskies battling the Iron Rangers at 4:15 p.m.
The Lakers then will face the Ice Dogs at 7:30 p.m.
Games played during the “Showcase” count towards the SIJHL regular-season standings.