The Coulee Region Chill conducted its final tryouts for the 2010-11 campaign last weekend and over 120 hopefuls made it to camp in Anoka, Minn., with their sights set on making the North American Hockey League (NAHL) club.
On the third day of tryouts, fourth-round draft choice and Michigan’s Mr. Hockey Chris Hughes (St. Mary Catholic Central High School) had a huge day as the forward scored a number of times.
The fourth day gave the Chill hopefuls another shot to show what they could bring to the table with a morning and afternoon session. It was clear to the coaching staff that there were going to be some difficult decisions to be made before the next round of cuts.
The night session consisted of four teams, 59 skaters and six goalies. Each team of 15 did battle twice and showed off some of their best skills, including a breakaway goal by second-round draft pick Nathan Trannel (Onalaska High).
Cuts were made down to the final 35 players. The stage was set for a final all-star game to be played on Day 5.
With 12 returning players in the mix of 35 going into the camp finale, all on hand at Anoka Ice Arena knew that the best level of competition was about to unfold. The defense and goaltending was stellar in a seesaw contest that eventually ended in a shootout.
All the minutes had been played, now it was just a waiting game.
Chill head coach Garrett Strot and assistant coach Todd Sanden met with each player following the game with a post-analysis interview in which the final 35 players were advised whether they’d lace up the skates for the Chill in 2010-11.
The Chill will call on 10 returning players for leadership, including goaltender Paul Moberg; defensemen Matt Blomquist, Mike McDonald and David Mylrea; and forwards Micky Knox, Scott Bell, Zac Frischmon, Connor Gaarder, Lucas Dillon and Dane Shaugabay.
Defenseman Eric Drapluk (Philadelphia Revolution of the EJHL) and forwards Trannel and Hughes - all Chill draft picks - were also selected.
Hulking 6-foot-3, 185-pounder Tate Rusk (Brainerd High) will join the defense along with Andrew Pitts (North Metro High) and Ben Gislason (Breck High). Forwards Jake Useldinger (East Grand Forks), Ben Jaremko (Elk River High) and James Hughes (Centennial High) also made the team.
Rick Wesp, the Chill’s general manger, liked what he saw at the final camp.
“The goaltending looked solid and we’re faster,” said Wesp.