The Michigan Warriors, who will begin play in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) this fall, are getting set for their main tryout camp this weekend at the Flint Iceland Arena.
Players invited to the camp include the team’s draft picks and other prospects. Their performance in camp practice sessions and games will help determine who takes the ice for the team’s inaugural season at Perani Arena, which begins in September. The team expects to have its final 2010-11 roster in place in August.
“Not just any kid off the street is going to make this team,” said Warriors head coach and general manager Moe Mantha. “This is an extremely competitive league and the scouting staff and I are going to be watching these players very closely in live game situations.
“We want to be sure the young men who put on the Warriors sweater for Flint’s first NAHL game are highly skilled, have the hunger to win and are going to represent this community the way it deserves to represented.”
Camp activities will take place at Iceland Arena while the team’s home rink, Perani Arena, undergoes a series of continuing renovations in preparation for the upcoming season. Upgrades to the facility’s roof, food service and concessions areas are scheduled for completion by September.
The arena already has seen improved lighting installed since Firland Management began investing in the fan experience after taking over operations at the 4,000-seat facility earlier this year. Additional upgrades are planned.
The Warriors also announced additions to the team’s scouting and front office staff.
“Moe Mantha has hockey in his blood and the responsibility to develop these players into a winning team ultimately is his, but it’s the people behind the scenes who will really turn the Warriors into a source of community pride,” said Pat McEachern, a member of the team’s ownership group. “Our new scouting director and front office staff are among the best professionals in hockey.”
Joining the Warriors as scouting director is Tom Boileau, a longtime member of the Southeast Michigan hockey community. He is a certified Level 5 Master Coach and has been behind the bench at nearly every level.
Highlights of Boileau’s coaching career include time as the head coach and general manager of the Brownstown Bombers Junior A hockey club, an internship at the USA Hockey National Team Development Program and three years as the director of player personnel for the Marquette Rangers of the NAHL.
He also serves as the head coach and general manager of Michigan Elite High School Hockey. Many of Boileau’s players have graduated from junior hockey to play at the NCAA level.
Sales director Tory Thompson Newberry joins the Warriors after working as a senior account executive for the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, where she handled season tickets, group tickets, suites and corporate advertising.
Prior to her work with the Red Wings, Newberry spent four seasons as an account executive with the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). There, she handled season tickets, group tickets, corporate advertising and the team’s hockey school.
The Warriors’ director of marketing and promotions, Jacob Wesolek, most recently served as the director of operations for the Port Huron Icehawks of the International Hockey League (IHL).
A 2002 graduate of Central Michigan University, Wesolek got his start in hockey with the Spirit, coordinating sales initiatives and game-day promotions. He also spent time with the Omaha Knights of the American Hockey League (AHL) and the South Carolina Stingrays of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).
A Saginaw, Mich., native, Wesolek will be responsible for the team’s daily operations, including marketing efforts, promotions and public relations.
MONSTERS MAIN CAMP SET FOR NEXT WEEK: The Fresno Monsters, who will also begin their first season in the NAHL this fall, will hold their main camp - their last preseason tryout camp - next week at Selland Arena.
The Monsters are expecting over 150 players from around the world to be in attendance for a chance to earn a roster spot on one of the club's two teams: the NAHL club or the Tier III Junior A Western States Hockey League (WSHL) team.
The camp will conclude with an all-star game in which the best 50 players will compete for a spot on the team's NAHL squad.
"With our move to the North American Hockey League this off-season, we’ve drawn attention from hockey players worldwide," said Eric Ballard, head coach and general manager of the Monsters’ NAHL team. "We’re very excited to see some top caliber players at camp next week."
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)