The Reign’s highly aniticipated free-agent tryouts have been set for Friday, Sept. 24 and Saturday, Sept. 25 at Riverside Ice Town.
Tryouts will be held at Rink A on Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Participants are encouraged to sign up early to secure a spot; a team spokesperson said that several prospective campers called to inquire within an hour of the official announcement earlier today.
And with good reason: Because of a scheduling overlap with the Manchester Monarchs’ camp, Reign head coach Karl Taylor said that he’ll need a few more bodies in training camp before players arrive from the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate.
“That doesn’t mean they’re going to make the team, but there’s more of an opportunity,” Taylor said.
Last year, NHL camps started earlier because of the Winter Olympics, creating a trickle-down effect through the minor leagues. AHL camps started earlier too, and there was no need for any tryout players when the Reign’s camp began.
In 2008, several players went straight from the free-agent tryout to the Reign camp. A few appeared in preseason games and one, Itan Chavira, made the Reign’s opening-day roster. While that is unlikely to happen again, Taylor will keep a list of open tryout players on hand in case injuries and/or AHL call-ups hit at midseason.
In addition, the tryout format will change.
“We’re going to run some practices this year, not just scrimmages,” Taylor said. “There’s going to be more value in this camp. We’re trying to add value to the product that we’re offering. We want them to get the most out of the experience.
“We hope the practices we run for the main camp are more higher paced, but the content will be similar.”
The cost is $150 per player and includes two games, two practices, off-ice coaching sessions and a jersey. All players must be 18 years of age or older and no participant may be under contract with any other professional team or league at the “AA” level or higher (NHL, AHL, ECHL or Central Hockey League).
Participating players are required to bring full equipment (including half-visor/shield for skaters and mask for goaltenders). To register, call Vinnie Aven in the Reign front office at (909) 941-7825 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.