PAC Saints prepare for 2021-2022 season

The Parkland Athletic Club (PAC) Saints began their training camps and exhibition schedule at the end of August, in preparation for the upcoming 2021-2022 regular season. File photo / jpeg, SP

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The Parkland Athletic Club (PAC) Saints are gearing up for a new season.

With training camp underway in Spruce Grove, the organization, which is made up of members from the Spruce Grove Minor Hockey Association, Stony Plain Minor Hockey Association and the Hockey Alberta designated Zone 3 area, will be finalizing rosters in the coming weeks.

The PAC Saints began their training camps and exhibition schedule during the last week of August with their Bantam (U15) program. The regular season runs from early October to the end of February or beginning of March, when playoffs begin. During the regular season, teams practice two or three times a week and play two games every weekend.

“Our regular season will start at the beginning of October,” said Tom Tremain, operations director with the PAC Saints. “Especially with the U18 division, because there’s still players that are trying out for AAA with St. Albert, so we will get some more players coming back slowly if they don’t make St. Albert.”

The PAC Saints currently have six teams, including two U15AA teams, one U15AAA, one U16AAA team, one U16AA and one U18AA team. The AAA teams play in the Alberta Elite Hockey League (AEHL), while the AA teams play in the Northern Alberta Hockey League (NAHL), each season.

They will finalize their rosters near the end of September, before the puck drops on the regular 2021-2022 season. There will be a total of 19 players per team, in each division from U15 to U18.

For the last three seasons, one PAC Saints team has had some high calibre coaching behind the bench.

“We are fortunate that we have former Stanley Cup champion and Edmonton Oiler, Norm Lacombe as our head coach for our U15AAA team,” said Tremain. “We are very fortunate to have a guy of his calibre coaching for us.”

Tremain said as with every year, players are bringing their best to the ice so far in the preseason, and are looking forward to returning to a regular season.

“It’s been very competitive. I think the kids are very eager to get back to playing hockey with the Covid season that happened last year. All of our teams have had very competitive camps,” he said.

Last season was basically a development season due to the pandemic, with limited games in each division. In the last full season, 2019-2020, all teams with the PAC Saints made the playoffs, with the U15AAA team overachieving a bit from the previous year, with plenty of hard work and dedication, he noted.

This season in 2021-20221, the organization has its sights set on reaching their goals, while at the same time, developing good kids and good hockey players.

“Our number one goal with our players and our club philosophy is player development. We strive to move our players up, whether it be to St. Albert, the U18AAA Raiders or if we move kids along to junior, which we’ve done,” said Tremain. “Multiple kids that have played for us previously are now playing in the Alberta Junior Hockey League and one kid is playing in the Western Hockey League (WHL). The wins and losses are a product of development, but we strive towards getting these kids ready for the next level.”

kjean@postmedia.com

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