With the Grand Forks Border Bruins set to start their 2011/2012 KIJHL campaign on Sept. 16, Head Coach and GM Brent Batten is preparing his roster.
Some veterans from last year’s squad are at Junior A camps currently but Batten has been hearing that some may return to the Junior B Bruins.
“We’re starting to get word from a couple of guys,” Batten said in between practices at tryout camp last week.
“We have a couple trickling back into town. (Forward) Dylan Sahara’s back, so that’s a big bump for us. Garett McCracken, Brendan Jackson (both defensemen), those guys are all back. We’re slowly getting our guys back into the swing of things.”
“For the most part, the guys that were with us last year that we have coming back are guys that we want back,” the new coach and GM went on to say.
The 2010/11 Border Bruins allowed an average of 5.3 goals a game (267 goals against in total) and Batten said that neither of the goalies who played the bulk of last season – Ryan Ryman or Garrett Muir – would return but local Nathan Nicolson, who started nine games last season, was getting a look at last week’s tryout camp.
“Mckinlee Baum, who played with the Spokane Braves last season, he’s been a good pickup for us,” said Batten of other notable netminders.
As far as defensemen were concerned, Batten said that there were a number of blueliners in camp that had been competing.
“We have a young kid, Curtis Coburn from Kelowna. He’s really stepped up and we’re excited to have him and he’s going to be with us for the season,” Batten said.
“Brandon Schaeffer, he’s another 16-year-old that was in camp that really impressed us.”
Amongst the offseason moves, d-man Mack Wallace was dealt to the North Vancouver Wolf Pack of the Pacific International Junior league in exchange for power forward Jacob Bergeron and Batten is happy to have him with the team and says he could even see time on the power play.
“Jacob Bergeron, he’s looking very good and he’s one of those guys that has a really heavy shot and he can do good for us back there,” explained Batten.
In terms of forwards, Batten pointed to Bergeron as well as Sahara as big parts of the offense and said that the team should be deep up front; he said the team was still waiting for the “trickle down effect” from Junior A camp cuts as well.
However, Batten also said that the roster was far from being set and the coaching staff would have to evaluate players.
“It’s too early to even tell,” Batten said.
“Everything’s still up in the air with a lot of guys. The guys we have now, they’re obviously competing hard to solidify a place with us but until we have a few games under our belt, it’s too early to tell.”