Getting ready for camp

Lakehead University Thunderwolves men’s hockey head coach Andrew Wilkins watches a Thunderwolves minor hockey goaltending camp at Port Arthur Arena on Thursday.

New kid, hole-in-one and a brand new OUA hockey season: things are looking good in Andrew Wilkins’ world right now.

The Lakehead University Thunderwolves second-year head coach will be joined by nine new recruits and the rest of the 26-man squad for the first day of training camp at the Tournament Centre on Tuesday at 4 p.m. That’s less than three weeks from a pair of non-conference games against the Laurentian Voyageurs at the refurbished Fort William Gardens Sept. 20-21.

“Just want to bring kids in who have character, kids excited to be here, who will work hard and fit in with our group of guys that we have coming back,” said Wilkins at Port Arthur Arena on Thursday.

“Those new guys are excited about taking a step forward and have the potential to be top players in the league. We’re going to have a unique team here. It starts with them becoming good players, better players, and leaders.”

Goaltender Blake Weyrick out of Santa Monica, Calif., LU’s first signing on May 23, is a red-shirt this year and will not play this season, but has three years of eligibility left.

That swings the door wide open for returning goaltender Nic Renyard and two former North Stars netminders — Brandon Bodnar and SIJHL goaltender of the year Brock Aiken — to snare some playing time.

Weyrick played on the U.S. national under-17 and under-18 teams loaded with current NHL stars such as Auston Matthews, Jack Eichel, Dylan Larkin, Zach Werenski, Matthew Tkachuk and Charlie McAvoy among others.

Gone from the Lakehead ranks are captain Dillon Donnelly, Brennen Dubchak, Dylan Butler, Chase Stewart, netminder Devin Green, Matt Alexander, Austin McDonald and Sam Schutt.

See the full story in the print and digital editions of The Chronicle-Journal

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