Beyond The Benches

Jr. Blades Come Together After Hurricane Irma

Estero, FL- The Florida Jr. Blades started their training camp in late August where both new and veteran players began preparation to start the 2017-18 season. The Jr. Blades training camp typically runs for two weeks prior to opening the season where the team starts to form a bond with each other to become true teammates.

This year training camp was put to a halt because of Hurricane Irma. Irma forced the cancelation training camp and the evacuation of the majority of the program.

 

According to CNN, Hurricane Irma made landfall on Sunday, September 10 as a Category 5 storm where the eye of the storm made its way directly over Germain Arena, the home of the Jr. Blades. As many of the players had to evacuate, the aftermath of the storm left most in the state of Florida without power and many with damage to their homes.

It would be a full week after the storm hit before the team would be back to Germain Arena for a practice to try to again come together as one unit on the ice.

“After coming together through camp then having to take time away due to Irma, it felt good to get back to routine this week,” said assistant coach Tyler Carlston.

The scheduled season opener for the Jr. Blades was eventually postponed by the United States Hockey League and the Jr. Blades would not take the ice for a home game until September 22, a full two weeks after the initial date.

 

The Jr. Blades opened the season at home but lost in 7-6 in overtime against the Tampa Bay Juniors in front of fans, friends and family.

“It was hard for us to come back without having a lot of time to prepare and with our camp cut short from Irma,” said captain Evan Maxey. “The storm hit Florida hard and left our whole team with a lot of work to do in a short time to be prepared for our home opener.”

As the Jr. Blades continued the series against the Juniors on the road the following Sunday, the organization picked up their first win at the Florida Hospital Center Ice facility with a 7-6 victory.

“For us it was really a hard time to get back out there and have our team find momentum, this win helps,” said Pococke. “Our community is hurting and to get our program back in running in such a short time with our players returning back to Florida is hard, but this win is a big deal picking up three out of four points.”

Last season the Jr. Blades program were the USP3 Champions, with only two loses the entire year, currently the Jr. Blades are fourth overall in the division standings with a 2-2-1 record.