The South Shore Kings players for the organization’s new National Collegiate Development Conference hopefully enjoyed Labor Day weekend.
By Joshua Boyd
After all, that’s their last break of any kind before Thanksgiving. After a few days of double sessions to start training camp, that camp was halted due to a tournament taking place at the Foxboro (Mass.) Sports Center.
“There will be no ice time available for us,” said head coach John Gurskis. “After Labor Day, we’ll get back after it with seven days of camp before we open Sept. 15 against the New Jersey Rockets.”
At the training camp, Gurskis wanted the 30 players he invited in to “be playing scared.”
“I don’t guarantee anything, even though I do have some guys I’m high on,” said Gurskis. “We do have good returning players whom I expect to make the team, unless they show up overweight and show me they haven’t done much, which I do not expect.”
Cedric Bichsel made the trip again over from his native Switzerland to join fellow defenseman Austin Rook, a U.S. Military Academy recruit, as anchors of the Kings blue line.
“This will be Cedric’s third year of playing junior. He was in the top four for us last season, but he suffered a collarbone injury and missed a lot of time,” said Gurskis. “He wasn’t the same once he was cleared to play. We are hoping he will pick up where he left off in the middle of October.”
Bichsel played in his native Switzerland until he turned 18, at which time he came to North America. He played the 2015-16 season for the Iowa Wild 18U AAA squad. Last year, due to the aforementioned injury, he only got into 12 regular season and two playoff games for the Kings.
“He and Rook are my only two returning players [on defense], so I expect them to lead by example,” said Gurskis. “I want them to be not just quality players, but quality teammates.”
Up front, the brothers William Steele and Avery Steele are the Kings’ only returning players, so they will have 18 new teammates in a whole new league.
“Will and Avery have been in the [USPHL Premier] and they know what it’s about. I expect them to lead by example as well, along with [USPHL Premier]-experienced Michal Stinil,” said Gurskis. “I’ve watched [Sweden’s] Jake Stella play a couple times this summer, and I think he’s a Division 1 player like Stinil. Our Czech import Krystof Stuchlik is another highly skilled player to watch.”
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