The Milwaukee Power youth hockey team, the new team spending its first full year in West Bend, is holding training camp Monday through Friday. On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday camp starts at 5:15pm and on Wednesday at 7:30pm and the team will be on the ice for 90 minutes at the Kettle Moraine Ice Center.
Chris Marion, the Power’s vice president of business operations and business manager said this camp is where the team finalizes the roster for the upcoming season.
“Strengthening the roster, strengthening the positions, creating depth charts, all of those things,” she said. “It’s basically their first week of practice and it’s a program based on what the coaches expect and whatnot, so they’ll be ready to go when the season opens in a couple of weeks,” Marion said of training camp being open to the public for those who would like to come and watch.
“That’s all,” she said. “Entry is free. People can come, there’s no admission, it’s free. It’s basically just the chance to experience a junior hockey practice.” Marion said there will be an opportunity for people to meet the players after practices are over while they’re on the ice. But there will also be a Meet the Power Players event at the King Pin Bowl and Ale House in West Bend today from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
“Basically they’re going to be there all night, the whole team, the coaching staff, everybody’s going to be at the King Pin,” she said. “Fans can come in and get autographs and meet and talk to the players. If they want to take pictures with the players, all that will happen. So there really could be a chance after training camp, but the better opportunity will be Tuesday night.”
The Power will host its annual black and white battle on Saturday at 2pm at the Kettle Moraine Ice Center and the battle will also be free to the public when residents bring a non-perishable food item to the event.
Marion said the items collected will benefit the Full Shelf Food Pantry in West Bend.
“Fans can come to the game, watch it for free and then for an hour after that game from 3.30pm to 4.30pm the guys will be available for photos, autographs, meet and greets, all of that,” she said.
Since this is the team’s first full season in West Bend, Marion said opportunities like these events are great for the team.
“They are very important to us,” she said. “Now we call West Bend home, we are the new West Bend hockey team. So this is the first opportunity for fans and everyone in the community to meet the players. This is really their first experience with these players, and since Junior Hockey is new to West Bend, it’s exciting for the community as well.”
Marion said this experience could be the first time community members are introduced to junior hockey.
“A lot of people aren’t even familiar with youth hockey,” she said. “When you say junior hockey, they think like juniors, like little boys. Either they’re thinking about the Bombers or the Milwaukee Admirals, or they’re not sure what junior hockey is. Hockey is not a traditional sport like football, basketball or baseball. Players don’t go straight from high school to college, they play junior. So for some people, it’s their first experience of what youth hockey is all about.”
According to Marion, there are plans for more community events in the future.
“Our program here is going to open up a lot of opportunities for the community, not only this season for the entertainment purposes, but we’re going to have community events that fans can come to,” she said.
Marion said the team aims to fill the Kettle Moraine Ice Center during the team’s 22 home games this coming season.
“We want 1,000 people at every game,” she said. “Four of our home games will be Skate with the Power Nights. These are nights where fans stay after the game and can rent free skates and skate for an hour with the players. So this is a great thing both kids and adults can skate with players after the match.”
On Sept. 1 at 7 p.m., the Power will have an exhibition game with the Oregon Tradesmen, and kids in hockey jerseys will be able to get into the game for free, and tickets for everyone else will be $5.
“Tonight we will also have youth hockey players from Washington County at various age levels playing mini games between the first and second intermissions,” Marion said.