By Jeremy Twitchell
Although the ideas of Charles Darwin are not normally discussed in Provo, his theory of natural selection certainly would have been applicable to the tryouts for the Provo Icecats Hockey team.
The tryouts, held in the beginning of September at the Peaks Ice Arena, began with 46 hopeful players vying for one of 26 spots on the team. However, only 30 players returned for the second day of tryouts, despite the fact that no cuts had been made.
Senior center Greg Ingram, who served as the team”s assistant captain last year, said that most players left because they only came to gauge their skill level against the team, so that they would know what to improve on for future tryouts.
Freshman left wing Chris Lewis had not played hockey in a while but was hoping to make the team anyway.
“This was my first time on the ice in eight months, and it took me a while to get back in the hang of things,” he said.
Lewis also said he felt that the tryouts were not too difficult, and “easier than [he] thought they”d be.”
The two-day tryouts tested players on a number of skills, including speed, maneuverability, passing ability, and shooting technique. The coaching staff and former players evaluated them during various drills and scrimmage games.
For the most part, the coaches said the talent level they saw on display during tryouts impressed them.
“It looks like we”ll be a little faster team than last year, and a little more feisty,” said head coach Ray Bernier, entering his second year as coach of the team.
“All in all, I think we”ll be a little better team than last year. These guys have a lot of heart.”
Bernier”s prediction shows a lot of promise for this year”s team because last year”s team won the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Hockey Association Championship.
Ingram said he feels that the team still has a lot of work to do before reaching its potential.
“We”re not in as good of shape as we will be in,” he said. “It takes the body a little while to get used to the quickness of the game.”
Ingram said he does agree with the coach”s evaluation of the team. “The team is definitely a step up [compared to last year], especially offensively. The talent this year is much better.”
The players that lived through the “survival of the fittest” tryout routine will now begin a practice schedule that runs at least two hours a day for five days a week until the first game, at Utah State on September 27.