Getting A First Look

Rebels To Host Exhibition Game Against Maryland On Saturday

Jamestown Rebels coach Joe Coombs answers a question during an introductory press conference in June. P-J file photo by Chad Ecklof

The level of activity inside Northwest Arena has continued to build in recent days and weeks as the Jamestown Rebels begin final preparations for the upcoming North American Hockey League season.

The three-time defending regular-season East Division Champions still have a few weeks until kicking off their regular season with four games at the Blaine Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota, which begins on Sept. 19, but there is still plenty to look forward to in the meantime.

“Things are good. We’ve got a high number (of players) in town right now,” said Jamestown head coach Joe Coombs on Wednesday evening. “We’re at 39 or 40 kids right now and we’re going to be getting down here in the next 72 hours.”

He added: “We’ll get down to a much more manageable number. The community has been fantastic so far and very receptive. They’ve made us look forward to what we have going on with the team.”

The good news for area hockey fans is that they will not be forced to wait until the Oct. 12 home opener against the New Jersey Titans to get a look at the city’s newest franchise in action.

This Friday the Rebels will be holding a team scrimmage at 1 p.m., and Saturday at 7 p.m. the team will host a free-to-attend exhibition game against the Maryland Black Bears.

“The kids are out there vying for their jobs and I expect to see a fast-paced brand of hockey,” Coombs said of the scrimmage.

“That game will be free, we’re excited and hope to get some people to come out and see our product.”

While the Rebels have continued to fill front office positions and make roster adjustments, Coombs also spent time with his players at the Lake Chautauqua Lutheren Center recently.

“We got through our testing and getting to know everyone and had a skate on Monday,” said Coombs.

When it comes time for the Rebels to travel to Blaine to begin their season, one thing that players and coaches look froward to is the opportunity to play games in front of scouts from some of the nation’s top collegiate and junior hockey programs.

Jamestown will play four Showcase games before heading on its first two-game road trip Sept. 29 against the Northeast Generals, playing the Johnston Tomahawks the following week before heading back to Northwest Arena to face New Jersey.

“The first six weeks of our season is really hectic. There is just a lot going on with our organization,” said Coombs. “We start off the year with our Super Bowl, which is great for the players because every NAHL team and (NCAA) Division I team is there.”

As for Saturday’s game, Coombs expects to see his players, many of whom are still fighting for permanent roster spots, to come out firing on all cylinders.

“It’ll be entertaining,” he said. “Between the levels of hockey that (the fans) are used to in the past, its a little bit faster, a little bit crisper.”