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Lakers sign 2 in kick off to new season

By Randy Thoms Jun 7, 2023 | 12:12 AM

The Fort Frances Lakers are getting an early jump on next season.

The team has signed its first two players, Landon Lowes and Deegan Watson, whom both hail from Fort Frances.

Forward Landon Lowes played for the Kenora Thistles AAA U18 team where he notched 18 goals and 43 points in 40 games.

He also joined the Lakers as an affiliated player for three games during the regular season and three in the playoffs, where he notched a goal.

“He had a successful season. He was able to help his team out, and they did a really good job this year,” says head coach Tyler Miller.

The other signing was Deegan Watson, a defenceman who skated with the Warroad Warriors, where he played in 30 games, registering three points and finishing with a 30 plus/minus record, tying for 15th best in the state.

“Dean brings some size and some strength for us in the back end. (Warroad) went to the state championship, so he’s got some experience at some high-level calibre hockey games.”

Miller, who will begin his first full season as head coach, says they will be taking a closer look at other players from the area who might be a good fit for the team.

“We’d obviously like as many locals as we can, but it’s what you bring to camp. Who’s in shape, who’s coming to camp, who’s competing for a spot. There are tons of people emailing us, calling us.”

“We have so many kids on a list. Things are going good. It’s all about getting everyone to camp and being in shape, though.”

Miller is also expecting a large number of players from last year to return.

He says they have reached out to many of them to identify their hockey future. Some are committed to returning, while some are considering their options.

Shoring up the defensive end will be one of the priorities. The team gave up a league-high 301 goals last season.

Miller says they will be looking for players who can compete at a high level.

Goaltending is another hole to fill with the departure of Brandon Stroble who secured an NCAA scholarship.

The Lakers coaching staff is looking for a few snipers and key role players.

“We’ve been busy for the last couple of months. People calling us, relationships with other teams. We attended Global Recruiting in Vancouver. That went well. We were able to build a relationship with a couple of teams. We talked to a couple of kids. It’s just letting people know that a Laker organization is for real.”

Another goal for the team is to improve its image in the community.

“We want to get back in the community. That’s our biggest goal. And to help out where anything is needed or wants the Lakers to be involved. We’ll make sure we’re there and finding a way.”

The team has already taken part in a school reading program, a fish fry at the Emo Walleye Classic, and a walk for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.


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