The County’s new Junior A hockey team is beginning to take shape with rookie camp at the refurbished S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena scheduled for a little over two months from now.
Huskies head coach and general manager, Ryan Ramsay, provided an update in a recent interview with The Highlander.
“The support in the County has been excellent. People are excited,” Ramsay said.
For example, as of mid-June, they had already sold 98 season tickets for the 2021- 2022 year, out of about 300 arena seats, and the start of the season is still three months away.
He said staff recruitment is going well and they have “pretty much filled every role.”
“A lot of people reached out,” he said of their efforts to find full and part-time paid staff as well as volunteers.
However, he said they are still looking for more volunteers for game days.
In addition, Ramsay said they are also seeking about a dozen more billet families.
He said billet families get paid $475 a month to help defer costs, such as food, as well as two season tickets per household for regular season and playoff games. He said billet families are not responsible for driving kids. Transportation is the team’s responsibility.
Ramsay said it’s also about “helping the kids reach their goals of making the NHL or getting a division one scholarship in the United States.”
Residents might have also noticed Huskies’ merchandise has appeared at Foodland in Minden and Haliburton. Items can also be purchased through the team’s website.
The club is also eager to get into the former Scouts Hall at the arena and turn it into team space. The Huskies will be spending about $100,000 to create a dressing room, lounge, training rooms, office and showers.
As for the hockey squad itself, Ramsay said they had signed 13 of last year’s 23 Whitby Fury players. They were hoping to have another four players inked as of the week ending June 18. Two of the players, Ryan Hall and Joe Boice, are from Haliburton County.
The inaugural rookie camp is set to begin Aug. 27 and the team will leave some spots for that. Players are to report to their billet families Sept. 5 for training camp. They have tentatively booked four exhibition games for September, including two at home and two on the road. And the season is expected to kick off Oct. 1.
“Everything’s going really great,” Ramsay said. “We can’t wait to get into the rink.”
The club has signed a seven-year agreement with the Township of Minden Hills to use the recreation complex.
The new team will compete in 54 regular season games, including 27 home games plus playoffs. Most of the Huskies home games will take place Friday nights and Saturday afternoons. The Huskies are one of 22 teams in the league.
See more at huskieshockey.ca