By Jim den Hollander
Head Coach Shaun Falzone beginning working towards the start of the 2021-22 regular season since the day the previous season ended.
After a brief break to shake off a tough season completed, Falzone began attending Showcase and tournament events to begin the task of getting players locked up for a new season. A big step in that process was the first Futures Weekend held right at the Lake Delton Ice Arena.
That was a great opportunity for local varsity players to rub shoulders with juniors and junior hopefuls from across the country and by the time the weekend – played the same weekend as the USPHL National Championship tournament – Falzone had a few new players lined up four months ahead of training camp.
Travels to other events and some help from scouts and friends had a group that travelled to the Dells/Delton area at the end of August. They started out without ice in place, doing dryland workouts and training while the players themselves got involved with Lake Delton Ice Owner Aaron Kirby, installing the ice for the 2021-22 season.
That means when the players step on the ice, they are skating onto a surface they had a part in creating. The team has taken ownership of the arena in a couple ways, helping with the upkeep of the arena at times and also helping area coaches who can use a hand running youth practices.
The team worked toward this weekend with on ice workouts as well as regular yoga and fitness sessions. Last weekend the youngsters got a taste of USPHL junior competition with a trip to Detroit for some pre-season tests and all of that has prepared the Ducks for this weekend.
The Rum River Mallards will be in town Friday (Sept. 17) for a 7:30 p.m. game at the Lake Delton Ice Arena and the same two teams will tangle at the same time and place Saturday.
A season that seemed so far away in the late spring is finally here.