THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

Main Camp under way

IROQUOIS FALLS – The puck dropped on Day 1 of the Abitibi Eskimos main training camp for the 2012-13 Northern Ontario Junior ‘A’ Hockey League season Monday night at the Jus Jordan Arena.   Coach and general manager Paul Gagne and his assistants put the 25 players on the ice through an up-tempo, hour-and-a-half session of drills designed to assess their condition level and skills.   With just seven veterans back from the 2011-12 squad that bowed out in the first round of the NOJHL playoffs against the North Bay Trappers, there are plenty of jobs to be had.   The battle in net should prove interesting, as Martin Bilodeau, who backed up No. 1 puck stopper J.P. Fecteau in 2011-12 will be looking to grab the top job.   Bilodeau will be challenged by 19-year-old Rochester, Minn., native Nick Heimer who split last season among two North American Hockey League teams — the Fairbanks Ice Dogs (3.20 goals against average, .888 saves percentage) and the New Mexico Mustangs (4.45 goals against average, .899 saves percentage), as well as the Twin Cities Northern Lights (3.10 goals against average, .910 saves percentage in the regular season and 2.13 goals against average and .926 saves percentage in the playoffs) of the Minnesota Junior Hockey League, and 16-year-old Marc Audet, is expected to make it a three-way battle when he arrives next week from the training camp of the Ontario Hockey League’s Sarnia Sting.   When Jordan St-Marie arrives in camp, the Eskimos will have nine defenders — including veterans Kealey Cummings, Daniel Villeneuve and Kevin Walker — seeking seven to eight jobs on the blueline.   Up front, captain Richard Therrien returns, along with Corey Hamel and Jason Forward.   Affiliate player Myles Nolan and former Kirkland Lake Gold Miner Shayne Borden have been added to the mix.   They are joined by eight other forwards looking for a shot at cracking the roster.   Beginning today, we take an in depth look at the 2012-13 Eskimos, starting with the goaltenders.   On Thursday we will looking at the team’s defence.