The AC Avalanche U16 AAA hockey club is on the ice this weekend in a pre-season tournament. Shortly afterward, they'll be determining who will make the 19-player roster.
Friday night, they lost to the Calgary Flames, 3-0, but bounced back with a 3-1 win over the Okotoks Oilers this morning. Game three goes tonight against the Calgary Northstars.
The Avs open their regular season at home against the Calgary Royals on Oct. 9.
Kris Keller is in his first season as head coach. He's no stranger to the team, having served as the assistant coach for four years, three of them under Terry Sydoruk, who will remain as an assistant.
Keller is excited about the opportunity and gives credit to Sydoruk for helping him along the way.
"I learned a lot from him. He's done a great job of letting me develop on my own."
Keller says he emphasizes skill development, as opposed to teaching a grinder-style of hockey.
"I'm not a yelling-and-screaming type of coach. I think I'm more relaxed and try to bring a modern approach that emphasizes skill and puck possession to allow the players to develop into more skill-type guys."
While he's now coach, Keller is also an alumnus from its first year of play when the Airdrie-Cochrane Athletic Assoc. draw zone was established.
"I was actually the captain, but unfortunately, I got hurt pretty bad halfway through the year and ended up missing the rest of the season."
Originally from Canmore, he played for the 'AA' Timberwolves before his family moved to Cochrane, then went on to play on the elite teams of Airdrie-Cochrane.
Hockey fans may recall when Keller wore #21 for the Cochrane Generals from 2009 to 2013. His first full season was 2010-11, and he was an alternate captain in his final season.