Thursday, May 15, 2008

Marquette seeking new blood for '08-09

The Marquette Rangers will be moving one block west down Fair Avenue to the Berry Events Center this weekend for their annual pre-draft camp Friday through Sunday. The camp is one of four to be conducted by the North American Hockey League team as they search for talent for the upcoming 2008-09 season.

“This is a really unique opportunity for us and for our incoming prospects,” said Rangers head coach Kenny Miller. “A pre-draft camp gives us the chance to find those players no one knows about for one reason or another. These guys now have the chance now to show us what they can do, get noticed and hopefully wind-up on our draft board next week.”

The NAHL draft is next Wednesday.

“This camp is also a great chance for local kids who want to give junior hockey a shot,” Miller added. "Since we’re the only junior team in the U.P., it’s only right that we offer the U.P. kids a chance to tryout for the Rangers and play close to home.”

The Marquette camp will feature close to 80 skaters, most of them newcomers, but several current Rangers will also be there fighting for their spot back on this year's team.

“Obviously the returning guys will have an advantage,” Miller said. “But there are no guarantees for anyone. We want the best guys who will make the best team on the ice when September comes.”

The camp begins Friday with registration at 11:00 a.m. followed by two practice sessions that afternoon. The first games will be Friday evening at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s session will include games at 10:00 and 11:30 a.m. followed by a goalie session at 3:00 p.m. The day concludes with two more games at 6:00 and 7:30 that evening. Sunday will feature an all-star game at 9:00 a.m.

The camp is free and open to anyone interested in watching the process of putting together a junior team. The Rangers Booster Club will be hosting a concessions stand and team items will also be available for fans.

The Rangers will also host camps in Detroit June 12-14 and in Stevens Point, Wisconsin from June 20-22 before holding their final invite-only camp in Marquette July 17-20 at the Berry Events Center.

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