Monday, May 12, 2008

North Stars wrap-up pre-draft camp Sunday

Open camps can be a time of great excitement and gut-wrenching decisions for hockey coaches and Traverse City North Stars head coach-GM Anthony Palumbo is no different.

Following a weekend of crisp, spirited competition at the North Stars’ Pre-Draft Tryout Camp at Centre ICE arena, Palumbo alternately beamed about the play of the campers and lamented having to release some of them.

“Overall, I was very, very happy with the camp,” said Palumbo, who met with each player following Sunday’s all-star finale. “It was a competitive environment from the first face-off. I give the kids who came in here all the credit in the world.

“On the other hand, it was very hard to let some of these guys go. You get to meet some great, very talented kids with bright futures and you have to tell them that they’re not in your immediate plans. It’s hard to do.”

Palumbo praised his returning players for setting a brisk tempo throughout the weekend.

“The vets did a great job – a great job – of setting the pace. It’s important because the new guys sense it and play to that (level). I came away very impressed with the guys trying to make our team.”

Palumbo also got his first up-close look at Stars tenders Chris Salomone (Chicago Young Americans AAA), Ryan Amin (Compuware AAA) and Danny McAuliffe (Lake Forest Academy).

“I knew there was a reason we signed those guys,” Palumbo quipped. “I think we’re gonna be pretty good.”

WHITE PREVAILS: Brad Scurfield scored twice to lead the White to a 6-5 victory over the Blue in the camp-culminating Blue & White All-Star Game on Sunday morning. Scurfield, one of five players from the Junior B Flint Generals who were selected for Sunday’s affair from the weekend camp, also assisted on a John Aho (Marquette HS) marker. Stars tender Salomone and TC holdover Clinton Bourbonais also scored for the White Team, while Robert Scott (Flint Generals Jr B) potted the game-winner. Nate Urbaniak led the Blue squad with a pair of goals and an assist, while fellow returnees Jarrod LaBelle and Eric O’Hearn also tallied. Defenseman Clayton Allen (Ohio Jackets U-18) chipped in with a goal and a helper for the Blue.

FRONT MEN: On the same day that a North Stars website story extolled the defensive abilities of returning rearguards Chris Heineman and Phil Wendecker, the tandem played forward for the round-robin scrimmages on Saturday.

CAMP FIXTURE: Goalie Tyler Stricker is as much a part of North Stars lore as Wild Cherry or the 'bender bucket.' The former Traverse City Central H.S. star has participated in every Stars camp since the team first opened its doors in 2005. Stricker, who was selected for Sunday’s All-Star contest, played Midget AAA for the Midwest Elite League’s Marquette Electricians last season.

No comments: