Mintos training camp this weekend

Daily Herald File Photo Prince Albert Mintos forward Luke Nkwama has his shot turned aside by Saskatoon Contacts goaltender Rayce Ramsay during a Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League game at the Art Hauser Centre last season.

As the Prince Albert Mintos prepare to host their 2018 training camp at the Art Hauser Centre, they will do so with a new look squad for the upcoming Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League season.

“We’re going to have 16 or 17 new faces in the lineup,” Mintos general manager Don Fauchoux said. “We had seven or eight players ageing out of the midget ranks, but we also have the same amount that are moving up to different junior leagues. We have so many 17-year-olds that are either going to play in the Western Hockey League or the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

“With that said, we’ve got some great players joining the team and the most players we’ve had from Prince Albert in a number of seasons. This might be the youngest team that we’ve ever had, but we’ll have a ton of talent.”

The battle for the final spots on the Mintos roster will get underway Saturday at 10 a.m. as 50 kids will be split up into three teams for a tournament that will conclude Sunday afternoon.

“We have a big spring camp ever year so that when it comes to the fall, we’ve pretty much have most of our team selected, though we do have a few spots still up for grabs,” Fauchoux said.

“We’re going to have more of the younger kids here than our older guys, as the players that will be on the ice this weekend will end up either making our team, being an affiliated player or suiting up for the Mintos down the road.”

This weekend won’t decide who will be on the final roster for the Mintos, as the coaching staff will let things play our during their exhibition slate.

The Mintos first pre-season game will be at the Art Hauser Centre on Wednesday, Sept. 5, as they’ll play host to the Tisdale Trojans.

The team is slated to play six tune-up games before the season begins against the Trojans, Saskatoon Contacts and the Beardy’s Blackhawks.

Their final exhibition contest will be on Tuesday, Sept. 18 as they’ll visit the Willow Cree Memorial Sport Centre to face the Blackhawks.

The Mintos will begin their 2018-19 SMAAAHL regular season slate on Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Art Hauser Centre against the Moose Jaw Generals.

After finishing third in the standings last year with a 32-9-1-2 record, the Mintos reached the league final but lost in three games to the eventual Telus Cup champion Notre Dame Hounds.

At this point, the team isn’t slated to play in any tournaments this year, but they will be eligible to compete in the Mac’s Midget AAA Tournament in Calgary over Christmas.

They will earn a spot in the tournament if they have one of the five best winning percentages in the SMAAHHL at the middle of November.