Junior B hockey will make its return to Hockeytown North this season when the expansion Prince Albert Timberjaks begin play in the 2023-24 season.
The team opens training camp this weekend, but team officials plan to kick things off the day before with a fundraising cabaret. Timberjaks president and governor Ken Malenfant said it’s great to have an option for local players who want to stay in Prince Albert and keep playing hockey.
“It’s super exciting just having our local boys getting the opportunity to stay in the community and play here versus having to either, ‘A’, quit hockey, or ‘B’, have to move away to play Junior B somewhere else,” Malenfant said. “We’re excited to be able to offer them that opportunity and we’ve got absolutely tonnes of support locally and within the community. We’ve got a lot of volunteers who have stepped up. It’s been overwhelming the amount of help we’re getting.”
The Timberjaks already have 16 players signed to their roster, but plan to add a few more at their first fall camp on Aug. 26-27. Malenfant said they’re looking for a few more players to compliment the core roster.
“Obviously, you need to be able to play the game at the Junior B level, but most importantly we’re looking for good people,” he said. “If they can translate some of that goodness onto the ice in the team atmosphere, that’s the kids we’re looking for right now.”
Malenfant expects around 40-45 players to attend their fall camp at the Buckland Arena. The Timberjaks have struck a deal with the RM of Buckland to play out the facility, and even received permission to build their own private dressing room and facilities.
“That will allow us to be great hosts for visiting teams,” Malenfant said. “We’re going to have a lounge upstairs to allow for a little more of a social atmosphere for the games as well, so yeah, I think Buckland’s going to be a great fit.”
Malenfant said the Timberjaks will be a young, energetic team that competes at a high level. He said the club won’t get run out of any rinks this season.
“We’ve got some good young men who understand the team concept and we’ll add to that this weekend at camp,” he said. “We’re just looking for some good, hard-nosed players who are willing to buy into our team concept.”
The team has one final item of business before they take the ice: Friday’s fundraising cabaret at the Northern Regional Recreation Centre (NRRC) in Redwing.
Cabaret director Jan Malenfant said they’ve had plenty of support since they announced Prince Albert’s return to Junior B hockey.
“It’s good to have these kids staying in their community (and) supporting their community,” she said. “They can stay and have jobs. They can stay and go to school, and they can still play hockey.”
The cabaret starts at 8 p.m. on Friday. The entertainment includes dancing, a live DJ, pizza, and a live auction. So far the Timberjaks have sold roughly 180 tickets.
The funds raised will go towards ice time, transportation, food, and other costs junior hockey teams incur over the season.
“Any little bit will help, that’s for sure,” Jan said. “We’re just trying to get a hold on our inaugural year here to try and have some money.”
Cabaret tickets cost $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Limited VIP tables of eight cost $500. Tickets can be purchased at Source for Sports and 4 Horsemen Fitness. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Timberjaks fall camp runs Aug. 26-27. Their home-opener is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 28 when they take on the Saskatoon Quakers at 7:30 p.m.