Muskie boys have slots to fill

Dan Falloon

The Muskie boys’ hockey team will have a decidedly different look this year, with numerous spots up for grabs as the squad hits the midway point of its training camp.
The black-and-gold held a pair of tryout camps last week, and have two more slated for this week as they look to repeat as NorWOSSA champs and earn an eighth-straight trip to the all-Ontarios.
Fort High is especially lacking up front as veterans such as Davis Smith, Brendan Cawston, Matt DePiero, and David Chambers all have graduated while Donovan Cousineau is now with the Thunder Bay Kings Major Midget ‘AAA’ team.
“It’s going to be a tough decision this year,” stressed head coach Shawn Jourdain.
“We only have seven or eight returning players, so there are a lot of spots open and kids are working hard for a spot,” he noted.
Even though the Muskies lost captain Jamie Kaun on the blueline, a huge ice-eater on the back end, Jourdain has liked the general look of the defenders in camp so far.
“Looking at the defence that are out there, I think we’re going to be fine,” he remarked.
“But up front’s going to be hardest to fill.”
Still, it’s hard to look past the loss of Kaun, who netted 28 points in 12 NorWOSSA games last season—good for second in the league.
“You don’t really replace those types of guys,” Jourdain acknowledged. “We’ll just try to fill in the holes.
“He [Kaun] logged a lot of minutes for us, and we’ll have to try to find somebody who can do that,” he reasoned.
Goalie Devin Stromness, a holdover from last season, is in camp while Alex McDonald, Avery Adrian, and Scott Parsons also are battling for a spot between the pipes.
Jourdain said he’s bringing in some outside help to analyze the players, including a goaltending specialist.
“We’ll bend his ear and he’ll have a good look at them,” he pledged.
“It’s tough to look at 50-plus kids over two nights to tell who can and who cannot [play].”
All in all, the Muskies are just looking to snag the best available players, with Jourdain saying he’s not looking for any particular specialized skill at this time.
“We’re just looking for kids that we think we can work with and develop, and try to improve our team as a whole,” he explained.
Tryouts wrap up tomorrow at 8:45 p.m.