While the future is in doubt for the Eastlink CeeBee Stars, one Trinity-Conception-Placentia franchise is soaring along.
The Tri-Pen Osprey are in the final stages of team selection ahead of its second season in the province-wide Newfoundland Major Midget Hockey League.
Last weekend, the Osprey staged a final series of intersquad games before the team’s preseason tournament this weekend in St. John’s.
The team had 35 players come out for the tryout, with the latest games held at the Glacier in Mount Pearl Aug. 30-31.
“That is about on par with last year,” said manager/head coach Scott Akerman.
As the players got a feel for skating after being off all summer, the Osprey coaching staff – Scott Akerman, Jeff Garland and Paul Shephard –also got some work in. The trio were making notes and keeping a close eye on the action.
“It has been a good tryout,” said Akerman moments after the final period had ended on Aug. 30.
The Osprey are returning a number of players from last year’s playoff squad, which should help the franchise pick up where it left off. However, the Osprey did lose five players who had aged out. These include defencemen Spencer Norcott and Jonathan Pilgrim, along with goaltender Jeremy Freake and forwards Adam Oates and Colin Thomas.
Taking in players from minor hockey associations in Bay Roberts, Bonavista, Clarenville, Harbour Grace, Marystown, Placentia and Whitbourne, the Osprey finished the regular season in fourth place out of five teams and secured a playoff spot.
Although the team would bow out of the playoffs after a 4-1 series defeat to the eventual league champion Central IcePak, Osprey officials deemed the season as a success.
Now, the team is aiming to improve upon that.
“We’d certainly like to go deeper into the playoffs,” said Akerman.
For complete story, see a future print edition of The Compass.