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Final cuts loom for local junior hockey teams


DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard With just a few days remaining before the 2023-24 Provincial Junior Hockey League season gets underway, local teams are close to finalizing their rosters.

Offering a last chance for those on the bubble of the roster to make an impression on the coaches and management, the Uxbridge Bruins, Little Britain Merchants and Port Perry Lumberjacks will all be taking part in the Alliston Hornets annual preseason tournament this weekend. Round robin action starts on Thursday evening and continues through Saturday with the semi-finals and championship game to be contested on Sunday.

The Bruins will be looking to improve on their semi-final showing in last year's tournament, and are slated to start the festivities on Thursday evening with an 8 p.m. match-up against the Orillia Terriers. On Saturday, Uxbridge posts double duty with a 3 p.m. game against the Schomberg Cougars followed by an 8 p.m. tilt versus the Caldeon Golden Hawks. Last season

Little Britain will open the tournament on Friday night at 8:30 p.m. squaring off against the Mount Forest Patriots. It's shaping up to be a busy Saturday for the Shopkeepers with a 1:30 game against the Huntsville Otters before wrapping up round robin play at 6 p.m. against the Stayner Siskins, a perennial provincial powerhouse.

For the Lumberjacks, their tournament opens on Friday night at 7 p.m. against a familiar foe, the Georgina Ice. At 2 p.m. on Saturday, the Lumberjacks will look to dethrone the Penetang Kings in a rematch of the 2006 Schmalz Cup semifinals. The Round robin wraps up for Port Perry on Saturday evening, with the Lumberjacks facing the host Hornets at 7 p.m.

The following weekend, the PJHL season starts with a rematch of last year's Cougar Cup Orr Division championship when the Clarington Eagles visit the Bear Den on Friday, Sept. 16 at 7:45 p.m. On Sunday, the action shifts to Scugog Arena for a 2:25 p.m. matinee match-up between the Lumberjacks and Merchants with a special t-shirt giveaway planned for the first 500 fans in Port Perry.

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