Friday, September 03, 2010

Traverse City to play four exhibitions

The start of the 2010-11 North American Hockey League season is right around the corner and the Traverse City North Stars are set to gear up for the new campaign with a pair of preseason contests against Blind River of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, including the team’s first-ever contest of any kind at Howe Arena, and another two at the U.S. National Team Development Program squad in Ann Arbor.

Before heading off to play at Chicago against the expansion Hitmen on Sept. 12, the North Stars will square off against Blind River at Howe Arena on Sept. 10 and again on Sept. 11 against the Beavers at Ferris State. After the warm-ups and the regular season opener in Chitown, Traverse City will head to the annual NAHL Showcase in suburban Minneapolis.

“It’s always a good thing to have a couple of games under your belt before jumping into the regular season and certainly the Showcase,” said Stars head coach-GM Anthony Palumbo. “You’re bringing together a lot of new guys and you want to develop a cohesions as early on as possibly and hit the ground running when the puck drops for real.”

The Stars will face first-year clubs in Corpus Christi and Austin (Minn.) on the first two days of the Sept. 15-18 Showcase and close out the event with Wenatchee and Alaska. A subsequent two-week hole in the North Stars’ schedule prompted Palumbo to congeal a two-game exhibition series with Team USA at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube on Sept. 24-25.

“A couple things went into setting that up,” he explained. “We had the big gap in the schedule and it’s two more games against a good opponent to help our team get ready without having an effect on the standings. Plus, any time you play against Team USA, there are 5-10 scouts in the stands and that’s great exposure for these kids at the same time.”

The North Stars open the home portion of their schedule on Friday, Oct. 15 against Springfield.

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