Jets face tough decisions during tryout
The Jets need to have a 25-man roster for the 2011-12 season turned into the NAHL by Sunday night.
That leaves coach Dane Litke and his staff with plenty of work to do in a short amount of time. The Jets welcomed 118 potential roster candidates to the Janesville Ice Skating Center this weekend for the team’s main tryout camp. Nearly 100 of those attending will be cut.
“You can never be unsatisfied with the effort these kids give,” Litke said. “They made a commitment to come here and try out, and they’re trying to make the most out of it.
“The tough part is going to come after the all-star games when we have to cut from 40 to the final 25. For some players, this will be the end. And that’s never easy to tell somebody, especially a young kid who just wants the chance to play hockey.”
Among those competing for a spot on the final roster this weekend are the team’s 10 recent NAHL draft picks, along with several players from last year’s playoff team.
Jordan Bancroft is one of the more interesting stories at this weekend’s tryout camp. The Grand Forks. N.D., native played for the Jets in their inaugural season two years ago, but he chose to attend college at the University of North Dakota last fall rather than skate with the team. Litke ran into Bancroft at a wedding in Grand Forks in June, and the conversation quickly turned to hockey.
“I told him he still had a year of eligibility left if he was interested in coming back, and he jumped at the chance,” Litke said. “Any time you’re a young kid and you drop something you really like, it never really goes away.
“He’s here now, and he’s done well. He’s a little rusty, which is to be expected, but he’s in pretty good shape, and we’re excited that he’s here.”
Bancroft scored eight goals and added 13 assists in his one season with the Jets.
Today’s schedule at the Ice Skating Center includes an all-star game at 7 p.m., followed by a second all-star game at 10 a.m. Sunday. The 118 candidates will be trimmed to 40 for the two all-star games. The public is invited to attend at no charge, with concessions available.