LETHBRIDGE - The Lethbridge Lightning will be one of two new expansion teams joining the Ranchland Hockey League for the upcoming season, the first Senior AA men's team in Lethbridge since 2001.
Lethbridge, and the other new team Siksika, are joining the Nanton Palominos, Fort Macleod Mustangs, Piikani Regulators and Kainai Braves in the senior league.
Rob Zintel, Director of Hockey Operations, says the RHL is great league with some fantastic talent in it right now, and he's ready to get going.
"I know I've talked to guys in the community currently playing in beer leagues who have the desire to play some competitive hockey. There's a need for players who are still young, but aged out of Junior hockey, to keep active and stay competitive within the community," Zintel continued to say. "The Lightning will fill the gap for those who still have the fire of competition burning in them."
The Lightning will be coached by Jeff Koberinski, a former major junior scout, who says he's looking forward to the challenge of being the coach of an expansion team.
No players have been signed to this point, because the Lightning are holding open tryouts this weekend at the ATB Centre for players over the age of 18 to fill the team.
Zintel says they will be looking for the standard break down of 12 forwards, 6 defencemen and 2 goaltenders to form the team.
"But if we get guys out onto the ice and we find that we have 13 strong forwards, or 7 good defencemen, we'll look at keeping more," Zintel added.
On Friday, Sept. 22, the on-ice session for interested players will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Then on Saturday, Sept. 23 and Sunday, Sept. 24 players will be on the ice between 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.
There's a $100 tryout fee to get on the ice for the three sessions, and players need to have their health-care card, birth certificate, completed medical forms and tryout forms. All forms can be found here.
Players can pre-register by downloading and completing the forms, then e-mailing them to [email protected].
There's also an opportunity for players to register in person on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at the Lethbridge SportChek location at Park Place Mall between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
Last minute registration can be done before the Friday session at the ATB Centre from 5 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Officials ask players register no later than one hour prior to the tryout ice time.
Zintel says the team will play 10 home games, and 10 away this season.
"This plan has been in the pipeline for a while, as my wife and I were looking for a way to give back to this community. We had a son grow up in hockey, and based on what I've seen and heard there is a real base of support for this idea in the city. By creating this board and non-profit group, we bring another team to Lethbridge that will hopefully represent the city well," Zintel finished.
The team's season opener is just over a month away on Oct. 27 at the ATB Centre.
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