The Prince Albert Raiders hit another kind of ice on Monday afternoon as they prepared for a busy week, beginning with Wednesday’s home date against the Regina Pats.
Rather than practicing at the Art Hauser Centre like usual, the Raiders travelled to Montreal Lake where they held an open to the public morning practice before spending the afternoon ice fishing. The practice was attended by many community members in the stands, while a local youth hockey team joined in for a skate at the end.
After spending the first three seasons of his WHL career with the Victoria Royals, recently acquired forward Regan Nagy said it was a great experience to get out to Montreal Lake.
“We never got to do much like this in Victoria so it’s cool to be a part of something like this and have such a big fanbase from all over the place, it’s awesome,” Nagy commented on the response from the community over 100 kilometres north of Prince Albert. “The support we get is really cool, and the guys are enjoying today.”
Despite temperatures remaining below minus twenty, the Raiders were in good spirits as they enjoyed the day.
“After being back in Victoria for awhile, I kind of got used to that weather and not used to here,” Nagy said, a native of Ogema, Sask. “It’s a little shock to the system but I’m getting used to it and it’s nice to be able to practice at a rink like this again and just get back home and enjoy the winter.”
The team was hosted by Jarret Nelson and the staff of Camp Hope, who provided a homestyle feast of moose meat, fish, and much more for the Raiders before getting them set up for ice fishing.
This isn’t the first time that Nelson has connected with the team, as third-year forward Parker Kelly remembers spending a couple days at Camp Hope in his rookie season.
“What they do for us is great, and we really appreciate all they do. Going out there when I was 16, we went out there for a couple days and got to do a couple different things, some fishing,” Kelly said. “All of us really appreciate it, and some of the guys I know really like going out there. It’s a pretty good experience, especially for some of the guys from the bigger cities.”
Big week ahead
This week, the Raiders will play four games in five days beginning at the Art Hauser Centre Wednesday night as they take on the Pats. The team will then hit the road on Thursday to battle Red Deer Friday, Medicine Hat Saturday, and Calgary on Sunday.
Prince Albert is currently seven points back of the Saskatoon Blades for the final playoff spot in the East Division, while the Raiders have three games in hand.
Coming off a 4-3 regulation victory over the top-ranked Moose Jaw Warriors on Saturday and a hard-fought Friday loss to the talent-laden Swift Current Broncos, the Raiders are feeling confident.
“[Saturday's win] was huge. Just that belief level, you could tell, just skyrocketed. Playing with those… I guess all-star teams you could call them… being right with them, was pretty big for us and we need those points to get into the playoffs,” Kelly said.
On Twitter: @Trevor_Redden
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