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Bobcats kickstart season with meet and greet

By September 2, 2022No Comments
Members of the Lloydminster Junior A Bobcats welcomed the community to the Centennial Civic Centre on Monday night for a meet and greet and barbecue. Taylor Weaver Meridian Source

 

It was only fitting that the Lloydminster Junior A Bobcats hosted their season kick-off meet and greet and barbecue during one of the hottest weeks of summer.

On Monday evening, the ‘Cats allowed the community to meet new and returning players, talk about billeting opportunities, as well as enjoy a free hot dog or hamburger. 

The event also signified the end of the team’s main camp, which took place over the weekend.

Ben Bygrove, who grew up in the Border City and was recently named this year’s team captain, said it was great to see some new and familiar faces during Monday’s meet and greet after a busy weekend of skating.

“Today’s all about getting together with the community,” he said.

“People can come and pick up their season tickets, come and meet all the new guys that are here this year, and have a burger and mingle with the players, billets and season ticket holders.”

As for camp, Bygrove said the talent coming in this year is making the selection process difficult.

“I think we had 45 kids or something like that,” he said. 

“It was really high-intensity, lots of skill, and lots of promise I think with the younger guys coming in and making their statement for this year and for years to come.”

One of the billets in attendance on Monday was Ryan LeBlanc, who first billeted a player last season and said it was something he and his family won’t soon forget.

 “It was something our family talked about doing,” said LeBlanc, who’s also the deputy chief of the Lloydminster Rescue Squad.

“My wife and I have three kids at home so we weren’t sure if our household was ready for it, but we thought it might offer somewhat of a role model experience for our kids growing up. Our kids love hockey, and we couldn’t think of a better organization to work with than the Lloydminster Bobcats.

“We loved the experience and I don’t think we’ll ever not do it now. It’s something we’re proud to be a part of.”

LeBlanc and his family have Andon Coles returning to their home for the season and even picked up a second player over the weekend during camp.

With billeting, LeBlanc said he was amazed at how quickly the player becomes a member of the family.

“Andon quickly found his place in our home and we’re certainly proud of his accomplishments,” he said. 

“It’s fun to watch them grow as a player, and as an individual, they become a part of your family. We’re thrilled to have Andon in our home.”

The Bobcats home opener against the Whitecourt Wolverines is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 16 at the Centennial Civic Centre. The ‘Cats will again host the Wolverines on Sept. 17 before Sherwood Park comes to town for a game on Sept. 20.

“I think last year we had a building year and this year I think we’re looking to build on what we built last year, and I think we’re going to be a fun team to watch this year,” said Bygrove of the future. “We’ve got lots of returning guys from last year, so it should make for some good hockey that’s fun to watch.”