Every game, every practice, every opportunity, Bighorns staff are evaluating players, looking to see if they have what it takes to be a Bighorn. Scouting for this season started last year as our staff watched teams from across the United States and Canada. Even at nationals as the Bighorns battled for the championship, players were being watched; yesterday’s rival could be today’s teammate.
After just a few short months of taking the championship, players were back on the ice, trying to stand out among the 46 hopefuls who attended the Bighorns’ first training camp held in Las Vegas during the month of June. The Vegas training camp was quickly followed by another, this time held on the Bighorns’ home ice. As 39 young men descended upon the Helena Ice Arena in the middle of August, anticipation grew throughout the community, many eager to once again hear the slice of blades on ice.
Training camp’s Blue & White scrimmage on Saturday ended with Blue winning 5-3, but the real disappointment was for those young men not asked to stay. For the 29 players invited to attend practice with the Bighorns, today is the second day of practice, and the boys are once again battling, battling this time for the 21 coveted sports on the roster.
For many of the players on the ice today, this week is their first opportunity to play together. While some are returning Bighorns, others have been opponents in the past while still others have never played hockey at this level. Avid Bighorns fans will be fascinated to watch as the players from across North America begin to gel into The bighorns team.
Fans of all ages eagerly await the arrival of the DJ’s Automotive Cup pre-season tournament scheduled to start in just two weeks. Being held September 15-18, the tournament will be the first opportunity for the Bighorns to face their new AWHL opponents. In addition to the six AWHL teams that will be attending, two non-league teams will also be participating in what will be the adversaries’ only opportunity to face one another before regular season play begins.
As the Bighorns begin their journey to what will hopefully be another championship title, the Bighorns coaching staff will be hard at work, shaping and molding a select group of 25 young men into tomorrow’s stars of college and pro hockey.