Friday, July 29, 2011

Port Huron opens final tryout camp

The Port Huron Fighting Falcons opened their final tryout camp of the off-season today at Hazel Park Ice Arena. Roughly 100 players hit the ice, and the Fighting Falcons’ scouting team began the three-day process of finalizing the 2011-12 roster.

Each player will compete in five scrimmages over the course of the camp’s first two days, along with rigorous off-ice testing to gauge their strength, agility and athleticism. The best performers will earn a spot on one of two all-star teams, playing two more games Sunday.

While the majority of the competitors are from neighboring cities in Michigan, players from across the country and the globe have brought their talents to Hazel Park, including prospects from Russia and Sweden.

Roughly half of the 2010-11 Fighting Falcons skaters are taking part in the camp, hoping to return to Port Huron for another season in the NAHL. Joining them are other draft picks and tendered players that make up the team’s off-season protected list.

Most of the rest of the players earned their invitation to the tryout at one of two previous open tryouts in May and June. In addition to those trying out for a 2011-12 roster spot are a handful of younger prospects hoping to earn themselves a tender for the 2012-13 season.

After just three scrimmage games, it is clear that the Fighting Falcons’ coaching and scouting staff will be faced with increasingly tough decisions as the camp moves forward.

With a full off-season of scouting at their disposal for the first time, the Fighting Falcons have brought in dozens of high-level players to camp. The camp has also drawn coaches and scouts of several other junior and midget major teams, as well as college scouts.

Though most of the onlookers at the arena are parents and scouts, members of the Fighting Falcons Booster Club have made their way to Hazel Park as well, catching their first glimpse of players that may soon make Port Huron a temporary home.

Nearly a dozen Blue Water Area natives have taken the ice at camp, including draft picks Alex Archibald and Brett D’Andrea and tendered goalie Max Milosek.

The Fighting Falcons final tryout camp will continue throughout the weekend, with scrimmages taking place from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Saturday, and all star games at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the camp is free to the public.

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