Ducks First Tryout Draws 40 Hopefuls


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Ducks’ first tryout draws 40 hopefuls July 2, 2012 6:45 AM

About 40 skaters took part in the first of three offseason tryout sessions for the Dells Ducks Minnesota Junior Hockey League team held last weekend in Bensenville, Ill.

Notably in attendance was Aidan Verbeke, the team’s top scorer in its first season of junior hockey play and the league scoring runner-up.

Also on the ice from last season’s team were forwards Johnny Schwarz and Cody Kroemich and defender Austin Zima — along with Mike Argyris, a utility player used as a defenseman and forward last year.

Matt Rowe, a standout goaltender from last season, has already committed to Bethel University in St. Paul for the upcoming season.

Bill Zaniboni said the team signed two players from the weekend, offering Zima chance to return and also offering a spot to Shea Keller, an 18-year-old forward who suited up last season with the Florida Eels of the Eastern Junior Hockey League.

Zaniboni also got his first chance to see Joey Bower, the team’s first official signee of the second season.

Bower is coming off a big season at Crystal Lake High School. Zaniboni liked what he saw.

“It was my first time to see him play. He has some unreal numbers in high school last year and I can see why,” Zaniboni said. “He’s a strong, smooth skater with a lot of potential.”

Some additional tenders and signings have already been committed. Zaniboni said he expects about 10 goaltenders to attend the next camp, a two-day session also in Bensenville. Offensively, Zaniboni said he thinks the team is almost where it needs to be.

Among the others already committed to the team are two players from the junior team Zaniboni coached in Montana last year: Rob Meadows, an 18-year-old goaltender, and Connell Totten, a 6-foot 6-inch defenseman.

• Billet families sought: The Ducks are searching for billet families for the season.

Anyone who would like to make an impact on a young hockey players life and assist him with adjusting to being away from his own family is asked to send email to

Billet families are asked to supply a room and meals for a player and the player’s family pays a monthly stipend to the local family.

By Jim den Hollander

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