With the youth of Prince Rupert learning new hockey skills all week at the Lou Lemire Hockey Camp, the Prince Rupert Rampage senior men’s team thought they’d get in on some conditioning action.
“It’s all about … getting the legs back, getting the hands back,” said team captain Jared Meers.
“Getting back on the ice, touching pucks, getting the plays down. It’s great.Lou does a lot of fast-paced drills. Everything’s always go-go-go. You don’t stop for too much.”
A handful of Rampage players from last year and some new faces made their skating debuts on the fresh sheet of ice at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre last week.While formal practices don’t start until the first week of September, the focus was on being more comfortable at home, especially with a new paint and finish job at the old barn.
“The home games are definitely going to be pretty key in the season,” said the captain.
With two fewer games in the 2014-15 season compared to last year, with one being lost at home, the Rampage must try to claim one of two playoff spots between themselves, Kitimat, Terrace and Smithers in 16 regular season games.
“Lots of people show up. There’s great fans, a great crowd. It’s always a good time here,” added Meers.
The team will try and improve on their 7-10-1 record from last season and with recent powerhouse squads like Smithers in their division, the group can’t afford to take a night off. They went 5-3-1 at home during those games.
“Usually when we play Smithers, it’s a lot of a grind game. They’re very skilled … but we’re looking forward to the challenge,” said Meers.
As for players who have departed the team from last season, team manager Ron German said Brock Ward will be moving on. Some new faces at the Lou Lemire camp conditioning drills included Jared Hildebrandt (G), Tyler Bates (F), and Ian McFadden (F).
“We’re going to be starting [practices] in the next couple weeks here and if there’s anyone new to town [they’re welcome to come try out] … I imagine there’s more guys out there with everyone moving around town,” said German.
Those interested can contact the manager through the Rupert Rampage website at www.rupertrampage.com.
The season opener for the team is on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. when the Kitimat Ice Demons come to town.