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Mooseheads gearing up for 2019-20 season

The Mooseheads training camp continues into this week, as players vie for spots on next season's roster
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Scotiabank Centre (Meghan Groff/HalifaxToday.ca)

The Mooseheads training camp continues into this week, as players vie for spots on next season's roster.

"We're probably about a week away from seeing this roster finalized," says NEWS 95.7's Voice of the Moose, Garreth MacDonald.

After substantial cuts on Saturday, the Mooseheads website says that general manager Cam Russell has now cut it down to 27 players.

MacDonald says the Moose will be losing some talent this year, with older players moving on to the NHL.

"You're looking at about a dozen guys that have either graduated and will be playing pro this year," he says. "There are still quite a few really high-end guys coming back from that team, but there will be a chance for Mooseheads fans to see some new faces this season."

After a near-win in the Memorial Cup against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, MacDonald thinks the hype from last season will be tough to beat.

"If you look back at that roster last year, it was one that there was a lot of work that went into putting that team together, that dated back quite a few seasons," he explains.

But MacDonald says that rebuilding the team with young players is just the cycle of Canadian Junior Hockey.

"We certainly saw it last season with the Acadia-Bathurst Titan," he explains. "They were a team that really pushed their chips in the season before and that paid off, but they did pay for it last year. They were the worst team in the league."

But with a high-end lineup and some promising rookie players, MacDonald thinks the Moose will still have a competitive edge.

"I think the Moosehead will have a shot in every game all season long," he adds. "This is a team that certainly has the potential to be competitive in every game."

Official-Camp-Roster-Aug-24The Mooseheads training camp lineup after Saturday, August 24.

The team will also begin this season with a new head coach, after former coach Éric Veilleux heads to the AHL's Syracuse Crunch.

"He got a lot out of the team last season," MacDonald says of Veilleux. 

The Moose will welcome coach J.J. Daigneault, who had his own hockey career with the Habs in the 90s, including a Stanley Cup win.

"Daigneault with a real impressive hockey resume of his own," MacDonald says. "This will be a bit of unfamiliar territory in a way for J.J., he's stepping into a head coach role for the first time in his coaching career."

Pre-season games have already begun, with the Moose taking on the Saint John Sea Dogs with a 4-3 win on Thursday and a 4-2 victory in Saint Stephen on Saturday.

The next pre-season game will be Sept 6, and the final match before the official season takes place Sept 13 at the Halifax Forum.

On Sept 20, the Moose will kick off the official season with a Friday night game in Saint John against the Sea Dogs.

MacDonald says fans in Halifax have already been out cheering on the Moose and beating the heat by hanging out at the rink.

"Some hardcore fans, the rink was pretty much packed here for some of those exhibition games," he says.




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