The Sylvan Lake Wranglers have started preparations for their upcoming season. Over the past weekend, the team played three exhibition games to recognize player potential and make team selection.
Wranglers’ Head Coach Pat Garrity said, “The reason why we are playing our game tonight is to help prepare for regular season action to get the boys in better physical condition.” He added, “We have a few decision to make for our final players on the team, and playing games like this, it was a real good test and allows us to see what our players are capable of.”
Garrity explained that they would make use of all three games to choose players for the season. “We have 23 players left in the roster right now and we want to be down to 21 after the weekend. We still have some players playing elsewhere right now, that may or may not make their way back here.” The team is a member of the Heritage Junior Hockey League.
Garrity said, “We cancelled our whole season last year.” He added, “I just hope we get to play this year. Last year we only got to play four games. It’s been nine and a half months since we played. The shutdown had a catastrophic result on players not wanting to play the game anymore. We need to keep playing to keep this game alive and to keep our league alive. We can’t survive if it goes dormant again. We need to play.”
Garrity said that it has been a long wait to get back on the ice, especially for a town full of hockey enthusiasts. “This is a hockey town. People love hockey, they love coming out to the games. We have a beautiful facility and it’s a good brand of hockey. We are just really excited about getting going,” he said, adding, “We have a 36 game schedule and it starts next weekend, Sept. 17, and runs to Feb. 10.”
As the team is stepping towards the beginning of their season, Garrity reminds people of the public health measure of wearing masks in an indoor public facility, along with following other recommendations such as sanitizing and social distancing. Last weekend’s exhibition games required spectators to buy a ticket from Wranglers’ website or bring a donation for the food bank.
“It’s just gonna be a fun year. We have our returning players from last year’s team. We have a nice mixture of skill and toughness and a lot of local kids, and we are just looking forward to get going,” said Garrity. “We’ve got a great community support, we’ve got great corporate support. NexSource Power is back as our title sponsor again for the third straight season, I think that is important,” he added.
Tickets and passes can be bought through Sylvan Lake Wranglers website at sylvanlakewranglers.com.