Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Traverse City gets St. Louis today in Blaine

Minnesota may be the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" and there are at least that many high hopes inside the Traverse City North Stars locker room as the team prepares to open the 2008-09 campaign today in suburban Minneapolis.

The Stars will jump right into the fire in the opening contest of the four-day North American Hockey League Showcase at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, facing off against defending NAHL Robertson Cup champion St. Louis Bandits.

“I think we’re all pretty much ready to get started,” said TC head coach-GM Anthony Palumbo. “You always look good before you play the games that count. And the first one against a very good team that lost a lot of their top players but really has re-loaded.”

The season-opening contest – in front of literally hundreds of college and pro scouts - will also feature a pair of players going against their former teams: The North Stars acquired defenseman Travis White during the off-season from the Bandits in exchange for forward Clinton Bourbonais. It’ll also be the first game behind the St. Louis bench for new head coach-GM Jeff Brown, a 13-year NHL vet and All-Star (1992-93).

The Stars will also face a trio of interdivisional foes in subsequent days, meeting Alaska, Bismarck, and Fairbanks before heading home to begin North Division action the following weekend – including the Sept. 27 home opener against Marquette at Centre ICE arena.

“We don’t see these teams during our regular season, so it’s not like you can prepare yourself for what they might do,” Palumbo explained. “You go out, you play your system, you make your adjustments. The one thing we’ve been stressing a lot lately, though, is that you can control how hard you work. We always have to go out and compete hard every shift. It’s a bit cliché, but a pretty good mantra.”

Each of the North Stars’ 58 home games will be broadcast live on the Internet via the B2 Network. Fans can link up to the video webcast at the Stars’ website.

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