As reported in this space a week ago, the Slave Lake Icedogs got back to practicing on indoor ice on Feb. 22. It’s not exactly normal, but as head coach Gregg Kennedy says, any indoor ice is better than none at this point.
One reason he said that was because the temperature that day was well above freezing and the outdoor rinks were in bad shape.
What the ‘Dogs are allowed to do so far is have practice with up to 10 players in the U18 group at a time. With the older players, only groups of three are allowed. Kennedy says there will be two of these – one at each end of the rink, working out separately in evening practices. The next night, the other six older players get their turn. That’s how it goes under the current restrictions.
Those restrictions may be easing up this week. A March 1 announcement is expected. If it’s the one the Icedogs are hoping for, it will open the door for a resumption of actual games. Such exemptions have already been granted for the WHL and the AJHL, and the GMHL West Division is hopeful of similar treatment.
Kennedy is eager to get at it. He’s got his work cut out for him, molding a team under such circumstances, but the work continues.
“I’ve got a whole whack of new players,” he says.
Most are from Ontario and Quebec, acquired from other teams in the GMHL. Here’s the list:
Justice Shillingford Borges is a forward from Brampton, Ontario. He’s 18 years old. Devin Power, from Bothwell, Ont. Is a 19-year-old defenceman. Both come from the Bancroft Rockhounds of the GMHL.
From the Almaguin Spartans of the GMHL come forward Brady Meldrum and goalie Connor Johnson.
Jonathan Giancotti is a forward from Laval, Quebec, from the Nipissing Lynx of the GMHL.
Another Quebecker is Matthew Brousseau of Montreal, from the West Island Vipers of the Metropolitan Junior AA League.
Forward Kieran Nordman bucks the trend, coming to the Icedogs from the Grand Forks Border Bruins of the Kootenay International League.
Rounding out the list is Markus Myatovic, from Prince George, B.C. He’s a six-four forward who last played for the Grandview Steelers of the Pacific Junior Hockey League.
“I’m still working on adding two or three defencemen,” Kennedy says.