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Young Long Islanders Strive to Make Jr.Isles Roster

Team will play in Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament in February

Wednesday, 06.27.2012 / 5:12 PM / News
By Michelle Gearrity
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Young Long Islanders Strive to Make Jr.Isles Roster

Imagine playing a hockey tournament on an NHL rink against teams from across the globe – all at the ripe old age of 11 or 12. It’s a long sought after dream by players around the world, but can become a reality for 20 youngsters trying out for this year’s Junior Islanders. On Wednesday, June 20 and Thursday, June 21, the first of two summer tryouts for the team was held at Islanders Iceworks, the Official Practice Facility of the New York Islanders.

The Jr. Islanders are made up of Long Island pee-wee hockey players who are 11 and 12-years-old. Those who make the final roster represent Long Island in the annual Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament where teams from 16 different countries travel to compete. The 11-day tournament attracts over 200,000 fans to watch some of the best young hockey players in the world at Colisee Pepsi.

Former Islanders star Benoit Hogue has coached the Jr. Islanders and traveled to Quebec City with the team for the past several years and will lead them again this season.

“I had players last year that were scouted for the OHL team,” Hogue said. “That’s where many NHL draft picks are from which is why I want to start competing on the ice early and have these kids play their best. If they make the team and go to the tournament, the exposure for their future is going to be big.”

Islanders forward Matt Martin joined over 40 prospective Jr. Islanders and Coach Hogue on the ice during Thursday’s skating session.

“I’m sure it’s an exciting time for them,” Martin said. “I’m looking forward to seeing some of these guys on the Colisee ice. It’s good to play on an international level to see how you match up as both a player and team against different countries.”

The young players executed skating and puck handling drills before splitting into two teams to show their skills in a scrimmage.

“You need to have a good head to the game and be able to move the puck,” youth player Riley Brennan said. “The competition was pretty fierce but I think I did well.”

“I look at the kids who are going to go out and compete, who want to fight for the puck,” Hogue said. “I need team players who are capable of being aggressive and taking the puck to the net.”

All hopeful Jr. Islanders players must attend one of the two on-ice camps which will help the coaching staff determine the make-up of the team. Iceworks hosts the second camp in August, and the final, mandatory tryout is set for late September. All Long Island players born in either 2000 or 2001 are encouraged to try out and bring their A-game.

“Every year I go there I want to win it,” Hogue said. “I know this tournament is competitive and hard to win but in my head I go there to play hard and win some games.”

If Long Island’s best players continue to show up for these tryouts at Iceworks, the Jr. Islanders have the chance to do more than that.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYI 63 41 20 2 202 174 84
3 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 61 30 22 9 161 160 69
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 62 25 27 10 139 164 60
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 60 23 30 7 137 159 53
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 63 29 35 4 64
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 63 14 26 21 40
B. Nelson 63 17 19 6 36
F. Nielsen 63 11 25 12 36
A. Lee 57 20 12 12 32
J. Bailey 51 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 53 7 22 15 29
N. Leddy 63 8 17 14 25
T. Hamonic 53 4 20 16 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 33 13 0 .911 2.46
C. Johnson 8 7 1 .890 2.95

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