DEER LAKE The Western Royals will hold training camp at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex this weekend.
An open on-ice session for anybody interested in cracking the roster is scheduled for tonight 8 p.m. at the Hodder, but then the weekend sessions will be invited players with Royals new import Zack Firlotte — a stay-at-home defenceman who played for the St. John’s Fog Devils during his Quebec Major Junior Hockey League — among the players expected to be put through their paces by coach Ed Kearsey.
The camp continues with another on-ice session planned for 9:30-11 p.m. Friday night and Saturday’s schedule will see the players hit the ice for a skate from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. before fans will get to see a Blue vs White game that gets underway 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Hodder.
The Newfoundland Senior Hockey League features five teams this year with the return of the Mount Pearl H J Bartlett Electric Blades to form a two-division format with three teams in the east and three in the west. The Blades, Eastlink CeeBee Stars and Clarenville Caribous comprise the East division, while the Royals, Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts and Gander Flyers form the West.
The Royals will be hoping to improve on last season’s third-place finish where the western franchise wrapped up the regular season with 13 wins and 11 losses for 26 points. The Royals lost in the semifinal round to the Clarenville Caribous in five games in the post-season. The Caribous eventually got swept in four games by the Eastlink CeeBee Stars in the final.
The Royals open the season on the road with a two-game showdown against the Cataracts at Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium. The two teams will clash Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. at Joe Byrne Memorial.
Fans on the west coast will get a chance to check out the Royals when they battle the Clarenville Caribous Nov. 8-9 at the Hodder.