While the future of Junior A Hockey this season remains unknown, the Dragons have transitioned into the development season and were busy last week with their fall camp.
As the province is currently in Stage 2 of its relaunch program, the AJHL regular season was postponed on August 14. It however has begun its development season. This allows individual teams to carry up to 50 players and prepare for the upcoming season by engaging in meaningful training and inter-squad scrimmaging.
“We have to stay focused on the here and now and be careful looking forward because it is so unpredictable,” said head coach Kevin Hasselberg.
On Thursday, September 3 the Dragons held the Miners Cup, its annual conclusion to its fall camp. This time the Orange team won 7-1.
“It was a bit of a runaway,” said Hasseleberg noting they have finalized their development season roster. The new reality is a challenge for the organization and the players.
“They have to persevere and make sacrifices, and our players have done that and our staff has done that,” said Hasselberg.” It is promising that way, there is buy-in to make changes. It has been a really good week, they are a really good group of kids here, so they make it enjoyable to come to the rink and work.”
He says they have filled all the spots they were looking for and secured about 25 players for the development season. This will allow them to put two small rosters together to play.
“We will be competitive, but in a different way. We are not going to have a lot of older guys, but we’ll have young guys that are here to learn,” said Hasselberg. “Our strength isn’t what you are going to see immediately on the ice, it is going to be the character of the players and that is going to shine when the pressure is the highest. We have to grow through those times.”
He says over the next two months they have eight inter-squad games scheduled and they will adjust in November when there is more information on what will happen with the season.