Two Sabres off to tryouts

Mitch Calvert

Two key cogs during last Wednesday night’s 11-0 rout of the expansion Sioux Lookout Flyers won’t be in Fort Frances Jr. Sabres uniforms for the next little while.
Mitch Cain and Carson Dubchak (who combined for five goals and nine points against the Flyers) have been invited to try out for Team West, which competes in the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in early November.
The competition, organized by Hockey Canada in conjunction with the Canadian Junior ‘A’ Hockey League, brings teams from Russia, Germany, the U.S., and Belarus to compete against two Canadian teams (divided between east and west).
Players for each of the Canadian teams are selected from the various CJAHL representative leagues, with Cain and Dubchak two of six SIJHL players who will compete in a camp with 17 players from each of the Saskatchewan and Manitoba Junior Hockey Leagues for spots on Team West.
The British Columbia and Alberta junior leagues will have their own camps to pick players for Team West, as well.
Team West has won both times since the event began, and it’s a great opportunity for Cain and Dubchak to both showcase their skills on a national stage and see how they stack up.
“It is a great opportunity for both of them to see the calibre of players that they will have to compete against, the best so-called players from the other two leagues, and [it] will be good for them,” Sabres’ head coach Wayne Strachan said.
“They both play a big role on our team and log a lot of ice time,” he added. “For [Team West], they may have to play more of a role player, character player type role and be a checker who gets the team going with big hits.
“You never know, they both have the potential to make it,” Strachan stressed. “It’s how bad they want it and how hard they work to impress the team officials that will be there evaluating.”
Despite the positive outlook by Strachan on the news, the departure of the two forwards no doubt will mean a few other Sabres will have to step up and fill the void while they are away.
Joining Cain and Dubchak from the SIJHL will be Fort William North Stars’ forwards Jordan Davis (from Devlin) and Michael MacDonald, as well as Thunder Bay Bearcats’ goalie Drew Strandberg and defenceman Graeme McCormack.
In other news, a new wrinkle at Sabres’ home games is the fan choice player award. Fans now will be given ballots as they enter the arena and be asked to vote for their player of the game, which then will be tallied and announced after the second period.
“The player who gets his name on the plaque the most at the end of the season gets to take home the award at the end of the year,” organizer Wayne Herbert said. “We’re hoping to do this as a yearly thing, and get fans more involved.
“We hope to get the fans off their hands as it seems to me they are sitting on them and not doing much right now,” he noted. “But, of course, they haven’t had too much to cheer about yet and we’re hoping to change that, too.”
The Sabres hosted the Dryden Ice Dogs last night (the outcome was not available prior to press time), then travel to Schreiber for a pair of games against the Diesels this weekend (Oct. 10-11).