The tryout period for Temple ice hockey is a painful, three-day audition that leaves little room for friendship.
Regardless of status, from veterans of the team to newcomers of collegiate club hockey, a roster spot is not guaranteed. Junior captain Greg Malinowski informed his team of that particular policy on the first night of tryouts.
“Everybody was being way too friendly out there,” Malinowski said at the end of the night. “Nobody should be friends right now. Everybody is fighting for a roster spot. Nobody’s job is safe.”
The first night of tryouts mainly focused on evaluating the players through a series of drills.
As the players’ skates sliced through the ice, they worked on their speed, puck handling and skating. The tryouts featured a number of one-on-one and two-on-two drills.
Coach Ryan Frain said the team looks out of shape, but does see a lot of potential this season.
Semborski sharp in net
Senior goalie Eric Semborski saw his first action of the season as he was the first goalie to take shots from his teammates in shootout drills.
Semborski stopped the majority of the shots fired in his direction.
“It was good,” Semborski said. “It was a good amount of shots and high tempo, so we are just trying to find our rhythm again.”
The other netminder manning the opposite net was sophomore Scott Salamon, who is new to the team. Salamon said he is looking to outdo Semborski for the No. 1 goalie spot.
Hard hits early
Midway through practice in one-on-one drills, one of the defensemen clobbered his attacking opponent into the boards.
Seconds later, the next defenseman seemed inspired by the take-down and sent his opponent smashing into the boards as well.
Those thunderous blows along the boards did not rattle Frain, who said it helps prepare his team for the season.
“It’s just the nature of the sport,” Frain said. “We want to let some of the young guys know that this is big boy hockey. “
Frain is still seeking another coach to help him coach the offense, but, for now, he’ll enjoy the assistance of an old teammate.
Former right winger Christopher Altomare played three years on the Owls with Frain, and is helping coach tryouts for the second consecutive year. Altomare works as Frain’s coach on the ice by instructing the players through the drills.
This allows Frain to stand atop an elevated platform overlooking center-ice, accessed by an aged, eight-foot step ladder splattered with old paint. Frain sees the entirety of the ice as a result, and is able to better evaluate his talent and converse with coaches.
Though somewhat distant from the ice when he’s perched atop the platform, it does not affect his presence with the players.
“Once or twice I saw a couple of the returners slacking off,” Frain said. “I just waited for them to skate near me and I gave them an earful.”
Stephen Godwin can be reach at email@example.com and on twitter @SteveGodwinJr