Playing Junior ‘A’ takes dedication

Summer camp is done and now we can look forward to gearing up for the main one in August.
We had a good showing, with two teams taking part in four scrimmage sessions all last weekend at Bronco Arena over in International Falls.
We invited back 18 players to our main training camp, and offered two potential players—both defencemen—a chance to sign with the team.
All in all, two goalies, eight defencemen, and eight forwards will return to fight for a position on the Lakers’ team come Aug. 25.
The Lakers would like to thank all participants for taking part in the weekend camp, and wish the non-invitees to camp all the best in their upcoming year and development for future camps.
One thing that needs to be realized by many of the young players that were in camp is that it takes a lot of commitment, time, and effort to be a Junior ‘A’ hockey player—and most of all the dedication needed day in and day out to make yourself a better player and person.
Where you are now in ‘AA,’ ‘AAA,’ or high school is an intense, tough process, as well, but to play and compete at the Junior ‘A’ level is 10 times harder. And if the commitment isn’t there, then it’s hard to get an opportunity to make that next level.
The Lakers also would like to announce the signings of the following veterans: goalie Jameson Shortreed, defencemen Morgan McNeill and Cody McCool, and forwards Tyler Stevenson, Blake Boaz, Mike Jourdain, Jace Baldwin, Jon Sinclair, and Jaret Leclair.
Many of these players will be relied on to come back and play huge roles with our team this coming season.
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The SIJHL scheduling meeting will take place next Tuesday (July 27) at the Ice For Kids conference room here in Fort Frances.
The league currently is looking at a 56- or 60-game schedule, which will include two showcase tournament games in Spooner, Wis., giving teams a chance to show many scouts just what the SIJHL is about and what our players have to offer.
We also are looking at possibly having an East and West division, with Fort Frances joining Dryden Ice Dogs and the Sioux Lookout Flyers and the other being the Fort William North Stars with the Duluth Clydesdales and Wisconsin Wilderness (Spooner).
Our organization is proud to be hosting the other members of the SIJHL for this meeting.
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I last wrote last week that the Lakers may have a chance to host a road hockey tournament in conjunction with the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, with the help of the Thunderhawks and M&M Meats.
However, time commitments connected with hosting the recent golf tournament, last weekend’s summer camp, and unfortunate circumstances have made it tough for me to organize and run a successful event that we want to alongside our partners.
As such, we will discuss this road hockey tournament for a later date—and make it fun and successful.
In saying that, however, the Fort Frances Lakers still will be at the bass tournament later this week selling “400 Club” tickets, which give you an opportunity to win money every home game (with two bigger draws before Christmas and the end of the season).
We also will man a food booth at the bass tournament, with lots of good stuff for the public to come out and enjoy over the weekend festivities.
Hope to see you all there!

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