SPRINGHILL – Ice was flying and checks were thrown as the Oxford Colts began their preseason last weekend at the Richard Calder Arena in Springhill.
“We had about 24 in camp on Sunday and we had 26 on Saturday, so we’re pleased with the turnout,” Colts coach Paul Atkinson said. “With the base of returning players and younger guys coming in, I feel that we’re stronger already than we were last year.”
Atkinson said they have 12 players at the camp returning from last year’s team and five players presently playing in junior B Camps in Brookfield and Sackville.
He also said the executive realizes they may not win a championship and, therefore, want to focus on developing players.
“We’re pretty proud of having eight guys from last year’s team that tried out in junior B camps,” Atkinson said. “So we’re looking to develop the kids so they can go to the next level and provide them with a good place to play hockey.”
Looking at the team from the net out, Atkinson said that with Jesse Ogden and Josiah Bartlett in camp and John MacLean at the Brookfield junior B camp, that the Colts have the “premier goaltending in the league.”
“We’re still looking for some defence and are actively pursuing some cuts from the Brookfield camp,” Atkinson added. “And we’ll be alright as far as our scoring goes.”
Two players from Cole Harbour look as though they’ll make the Colts cut, “and there are two kids from Tatamagouche that we’re very interested in,” Atkinson said.
The Colts opening game of the season is against the Fundy Phantoms on Friday, Oct. 1 at 9 p.m.
“I believe our main rivals will be Fundy and Avon,” Atkinson said. “So we’re looking forward to getting the season started.”