Tuesday, August 02, 2005

North Stars finalize 25-man roster

Record-Eagle staff writer

TRAVERSE CITY - The formation of the team was announced in early November.

Jerseys for the Traverse City entry into the North American Hockey League (NAHL) were unveiled in early May.

Now the Junior A hockey team has 25 players to fill out those uniforms.

The North Stars made it official on Monday, sending its 25-man roster into the NAHL league office in preparation for the team's inaugural 2005-06 season.

"We're pretty happy with what we have," said Traverse City coach and general manager Scott Gardiner. "We have a good mix.

"We have a good mix of youth and experience and different types of role players and skill players."

The initial roster includes seven players with direct ties to the area.

Four of those played high school hockey in the area: winger Jake Erway (TC Central), defenseman Nathan Peterson (Cadillac), center Scott Ponstein (Grand Traverse Bay) and winger Joe St. John (Gaylord).

Also making the initial roster were three defensemen from the now-defunct Traverse City Enforcers of the Continental Elite Hockey League: Steve Hackman, Anthony Sarno and Tony Swarthout.

The first group of North Stars reports back to Traverse City on Aug. 20. That is also the first practice at Centre ICE.

"We start to work right away," Gardiner said.

Traverse City plays its first exhibition games Aug. 26-27 in Alpena and opens the regular season on Sept. 16 at Cleveland.

The complete schedule for the first season of the North Stars will be released later this week. The NAHL schedule, which features the annual Showcase in Blaine, Minn., on Oct. 19-22, is slated to come to a vote on Wednesday.

Gardiner said there will inevitably be some fluctuation to the 25-player roster released on Monday.

"With a first-year club, we'll be making some changes as we go on," he said. "We have no returning players, so we'll need to analyze where we're strong at, where we're weak at and adjust accordingly."

To view the North Stars full 25-man roster, click here.

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