Hernandez was hired in April as the head coach. The first rounds of tryouts were in May, with 40 prospects present and 18 players signed. During these tryouts, however, the team was looking for seven players to fill a 25-man roster. The prospects played three different games over the weekend to showcase their skills. Training camp will begin August 11 and the regular season begins Sept. 21.
“We’re looking to see what players possess the best skills necessary to help us be successful throughout the course of the year, as well as what players possess the best skills that we feel that we can enhance as a coaching staff to develop them to help further their hockey careers,” Hernandez said.
Players ranging in age from 15-20 were in attendance at the tryouts. Those who don’t make the team will be offered feedback regarding areas of improvement.
“We’re stepping up the level of play here in Wooster, which is something that the ownership is helping to do,” Hernandez said. “At this point, there are a lot of good prospects out here that show some great promise. I’m very happy with the turnout here and the potential.”
Hernandez said he is aiming to help rebuild the organization and put the team on the map. For defense, they look for players who are physical, mobile and strong. With forwards, the coaches look for players who are physical, quick, aggressive, have scoring capabilities and who can to help defend as necessary.
“We’re trying to get into a total team package where we’re a top-notch, Tier III junior organization,” Hernandez added.
He also spoke of the community support he’s heard of from the organization. While the bleachers contained fans at the tryouts, a packed arena is the expectation for the regular season. Hernandez said the organization is thankful for the community’s support over the years.
“It’s always good as a player to be playing in front of a good crowd that’s out there cheering for you,” Hernandez said.
Likewise, Gary Judis stood just outside the ice arena, watching his 16-year-old son compete for a spot. He said his son is young, but the coaches are giving players a good opportunity to develop. His son has been playing since he was 5 and Judis said the tryout process was exciting.
“You hope they’re up to the level of competition. There are a lot of good players out there,” Judis said. “It’s a good organization. They’re doing good things.”
Fans can check out the website at www.wooster oilers.com for news, information and the schedule. The updated roster for the 2012-2013 season will be available in late July.
Published: July 22, 2012