Wednesday, August 01, 2007

North Stars roster to be named Sunday

Players who land a spot on the Traverse City North Stars’ roster this weekend at Centre ICE arena will also get a few goodies on Sunday evening following the training camp-culminating Blue & White All-Star game: A new practice jersey, a stall in the team’s locker room – and a hot dog with spicy mustard.

The former items are standard hockey issue, but the latter is part of the team’s Kickoff 2007 weekend bar-b-que, set to flame-up around 5 p.m. on Sunday following the Blue & White game.

The event – and all weekend games and on-ice workout sessions – are free to the public.

Three teams totaling about 50 players will compete – quite literally – for roster spots starting Friday. After Saturday’s action, the top performers will be placed on two teams for the Blue & White game, from which Stars head coach-GM Anthony Palumbo will select his first roster.

“This is our third camp of the summer, but you’re looking for a little something different here than what you looked for at the pre-draft camp in May or the open camp in June,” Palumbo explained. “Early on, you look for talent and skill, now you start to try to fill certain roles and you look for the best players to fill those roles.”

Players who stood out in the North Stars summer tryout camps – including returning players, tenders, and draft picks – were invited back for this weekend’s event. Several local products are among them, including tenders Sean Burke, Alex Redmond, Eric McLintock, Eric O’Hearn and Marc Thompson, plus area prep stars Todd Knaus, Dallas Kniss, Tyler Stricker, Eric Swy and Dane Macdonell. First-round draft pick Tyler Stephens, along with tenders Trevor Shively and Phil Wendecker, are also slated to compete.

“It’s a good group, we’re very excited,” Palumbo added. “And this is probably as pure a way to arrive at a roster as any – throw a puck out there and let ‘em go at it. Who wants it more?”

At the conclusion of Sunday’s Blue & White game (face-off at 3 p.m.), Palumbo will briefly meet with each player individually, and after each has been informed of his status, the 2007-08 roster will be officially introduced at the bar-b-que.

“It’s a little bit of a unique way to do it, but it should be fun,” Palumbo said. “We’d love nothing more than to have all our fans come out to see some intense, crisp hockey, have a hot dog and a Pepsi, and meet the new North Stars.”

KAUNISTO TO WATERLOO: Kory Kaunisto, who scored six goals and assisted on 16 others in 61 contests last season, signed with the Waterloo of the United States Hockey League and is set to open the season with the Blackhawks. The Sault Ste. Marie product was selected by Waterloo in the 6th round (69th overall) of the USHL draft in May.

“Yeah, it’s going to hurt to lose Kory,” Palumbo admitted. “He made a decision and we support him in his decision. And if it ever didn’t work out in Waterloo, he’s the kind of kid we’d certainly love to have back.”

Kaunisto, who was honored as the NAHL’s top scholar last season, already has a commitment to Northern Michigan in hand, and could well make the jump to the NCAA in time for the 2008-09 season.

ENGLEBRIGHT DEALT: With a logjam of forwards eligible to return this season and a wealth of young talent at the position on the team’s radar, Palumbo finalized a deal last week to send winger Brett Englebright to Kenai River for a pair of conditional draft picks. Englebright spent the second half of the Stars’ inaugural season in Traverse City, appearing in 33 games and posting five goals and 10 assists.

Last year, the Pekin, IL native posted seven goals and 16 assists over the full compliment of 62 contests.

“We just had a lot of options at forward and they (Kenai River) really wanted Brett,” Palumbo explained. “Brett had played for their coach before and called us about him.”

North Stars training camp

Friday Aug 3
4:00-5:15 p.m. - Player check-in
5:20-5:30 p.m. – Orientation (Citizens Rink)
6:00-7:20 p.m. – On- ice workouts
7:30-9:20 p.m. – GAME

Saturday Aug 4
8:00-9:20 a.m. – On-ice workouts
9:30-11:30 a.m. – GAME
6:00 -7:20 p.m. – On-ice workouts
7:30-9:20 p.m. – GAME

Sunday Aug 5
9:00-9:50 a.m. – On-ice workouts
10:00-10:50 a.m. – On-ice workouts
3:00-5:00 p.m. – BLUE & WHITE ALL-STAR GAME
5:00 p.m. – Kickoff Weekend BBQ
5:45 p.m. – 2007-08 ROSTER INTRODUCED

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