Feature photo: Teri Di-Lauro
A letter from GM Chelsea Purcell:
This is going to be one of the highest skilled and talented tryouts for the Thunder organization. We will have over 30 skaters at tryouts, making it a very difficult task for the coaching staff and myself to narrow down to the final roster. We may have won last season, but the league is even stronger this season, so we must work to rise to the challenge.
I believe we did well in the draft for having two fewer picks than Toronto, the other team in the GTA location listing. You go into the draft trying to be very strategic with your picks to fill specific gaps. I believe we were able to get what we were looking for and anticipate an exciting couple weeks of tryouts.
This first week, we will be seeing how everyone compares to each other and where they may fit into the team. We will be looking to make a couple releases by the end of the week. In week two, we will be missing our national team players, so it will give the others a chance to stand out from the pack. Week three will be where the tough decisions are made to get to our final numbers as we head to Mercyhurst University for our first exhibition game of the pre-season on September 22nd. After that, we will be gearing up for the next pre-season game as we get a look at our GTA rivals, the Toronto Furies, on September 30th. From then on we will be preparing for our season opener.
I believe this will be one of the deepest teams the Thunder have ever had. I’m looking forward to seeing what lines work well, and getting to sit back and watch the high-quality product on the ice.
(Letter continues below the training camp roster image)
A few of our past players are not on the list due to work reasons. This year we are looking at having only full-time players on our roster, so some will be moving to our 40-player roster and called up when needed. Last year it was difficult for the coaches to plan practices around some of our part-time players, so because of this, we have decided to move to only full-time players in our top line up.
Our two international (non-North American) players are also missing from the training camp roster. Meeri Räisänen is in Finland at this time, where she is looking at all her options to play for the upcoming hockey season. The Thunder are proud to have a player of her caliber as a “prospect,” but do understand her desire to get ice time – and rightfully so. Malika Aldabergenova is looking to use the coming season to improve her play, and is looking forward to battling for a place on the Thunder in 2019/2020.
Anyone is welcome to come and watch tryouts. Our skates are Tuesdays from 8:30-10pm and Thursdays from 9:30-10:30pm each week at Thornhill Community Centre.
For any media inquiries please reach out to [email protected].