The pro hockey club in Watertown is going through some big changes. YNN's Brian Dwyer has more from the Watertown Privateers open tryouts.
WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- More than 50 guys from all over the world are in Watertown with the same goal in mind.
"To be able to play pro hockey at any level, there's not a lot of guys who get that opportunity so, it means a lot," said Eric Rutz, a center trying out for the team.
The Watertown Privateers, formerly the 1000 Islands Privateers, are getting set for their fourth season in the Federal Hockey League, a low level minor league team. The team is hosting open tryouts, but there are only 18 spots left.
"You are on your own. You've got no friends out here," said Kevin Morrison, a defenseman who has played with the Privateers before. "It's every man for himself. What you put into it is what you're going to get out of it."
"If a kid spots my eye, for me it's now do that constantly. If you do that, that's a kid I like," New Privateers Head Coach Brad Zangs said about what he is looking for.
"You've got to be steady, but you have to stand out. If you don't make a big play here or there they're not going to notice you," said Defenseman Graham Kerr. "You'll be just another name on the list. You've got to make them look down at the paper and say who's that guy?"
Goals, hits, and saves all can make a coach do that. However, so does dropping the gloves. In these tryouts, tempers flare and it's good to see who's capable of playing that enforcer role and who else will step up to stick up for teammates.
"You have to get your name on the sheet. Whether it's a hit, you've just got to get yourself in the game. So for me, if I can get a hit, a goal, a fight, I'm going to do it," said Rutz.
But maybe unlike year's past, that won't be such a big part of the game. The name has changed, the coach has changed and the team says this year the style will change too.
"We're hoping to have a tough team," Team enforcer Chase Tippin said. "We're going to be fast though. What they saw last year, it's going to be a lot different this year. It's going to be a lot quicker pace, a lot more aggression, more toughness, a lot more goals."
There are so many variables that Coach Zangs says makes his job of picking a final roster so hard.
"Unfortunately it's me, myself and I. Which is good," Zangs said of who makes decisions on picking the players. "I have some help from some other people and stuff like that. We'll figure it out from there I guess."
Those tough decisions will be made by Friday, just in time for your chance to meet the team Saturday in Alex Bay at Uncle Sam's Boat Tours. The team is taking a boat ride on the St. Lawrence for a couple of hours. It's your opportunity to meet the players, the coaches, take that boat ride and of course, get ready for the upcoming season.