|Centre ICE Arena
Last spring, after seven years at Centre ICE Arena, the Traverse City North Stars hockey team was sold and hauled away to Sault Ste. Marie, leaving a gaping hole in the hometown rink’s tenant roster – and a loss of nearly $50,000 in ice time revenue.
Then, with Centre ICE up against its own boards, came a dazzling breakaway: Scott Gardiner, former owner and coach of the North Stars and Centre ICE’s original team, the TC Enforcers, cobbled together a group of backers to buy a new team that would call Centre ICE home, the TC Cohos.
This weekend, he’s kicking off the team’s inaugural open tryout camp at Centre ICE. So far, two teams worth of Coho contenders are hitting the ice in pursuit of a signed position, and – if any young hockey hopefuls are reading now – Gardiner says he’ll make room for more.
With five players already committed and expectations to find another four or five this weekend (plus seven or eight more at an August prospect camp downstate), Gardiner says his plan is to have three-quarters of the 23-man team picked and signed by September.
Then? Gardiner says he plans to put the finishing touches on his roster by taking advantage of his secret scouting weapon: assistant coach Jacek Wilk, a German native who early in his career played for Gardiner’s Enforcers and still maintains hockey connections around Europe.
“This league, we can have eight imports,” Gardiner explains. “North Stars’ league, you could have only two.”
Translation: TC hockey fans can expect an exceptionally diverse, talented Junior A Coho team on their hometown ice when the season launches in late September.
And if it’s up to Gardiner, they can also expect some serious action.
“I’m kind of an old-school type of coach. I like physical hockey … and I like puck movement. I like to watch a lot of passing, not one guy skating the puck around. Hockey’s not an individual sport. I like involving everybody in the play,” he says. “And when the other team has the puck, our defensive zone will get in there, and we’ll play physical.”
Want to get in on – or watch – the fray? Prospective players should check in at Centre ICE Arena at 5:30 p.m. Friday, and will be on the ice from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, play is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Click here to learn more and register.
So What About the Red Wings?
Centre ICE Director Terry Marchand tells The Ticker that the Detroit Red Wings Training Camp is set for September 22 through 27: “We’re just waiting on the Wings to pick a date for their ticket sales.”
Find up-to-date details on tickets and schedule for the Detroit Red Wings Training Camp and NHL prospect tourney (slated September 15 through 19) here.