Niagara Juel and Juel Prep tryouts start Nov. 15
Delayed more than two months by the COVID-19 pandemic, non-contact tryouts for the Niagara Juel and Juel Prep teams will begin Nov. 15.
“I am excited about getting together with the girls again as last year’s season ended abruptly and now we have a possible opportunity to get back on the court,” Niagara Juel head coach Frank Keltos said. “We have a really strong group of girls coming back and moving up which always makes for an exciting year.”
Niagara Juel Prep coach Sue Sentance echoes Keltos’ comments.
“I’m thrilled to be going back and to finally return a bit of normal to our lives. Being in the gym and having the team together again feels great,” she said. “I’m excited that the players will get the chance to focus on a sport they love and have their hope restored for the potential of another season in the new year. I can’t remember the last time I’ve spent this much time away from a gym.”
All tryouts will be held at the Pelham Community Centre and tryout information and COVID 19 protocols will be emailed to all registered players. To register, click on the Pelham Panthers ad at the top of this story and details are on the Panthers’ home page.
Juel tryouts for players born from 2002 to 2004 will be held Sunday. Nov. 15 and Sunday, Nov. 22 from 8 to 9:30 p.m. and Friday, Nov. 27 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Juel Prep tryouts for players born in 2005 to 2007 will be held Sunday. Nov 15 and Sunday, Nov. 22 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and Friday, Nov. 27 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
“Juel gave the go-ahead for all clubs to move forward,” Pelham Juel administrator Don Larman said. “We have to follow the Canada Basketball return to play guidelines as well as the local regional guidelines.”
Pelham Panthers basketball has been following those guidelines already with training sessions that started in August.
“They asked that teams stay in a team bubble to help stop the spread of COVI 19,” Larman said, adding that means the team won’t practise or scrimmage with any other squad. “All the tryouts will be non-contact and we are figuring out how that will look.
“We have some ideas but we will fine-tune it and we have a group of coaches that are coming out to assist us.”
As usual, Niagara Juel and Juel Prep will bring in outside evaluators to help choose the squads.
Larman agrees having tryouts without physical will be difficult given the inherent physical nature of the sport.
“They will have to focus more on the skills and other things that kids bring to the court,” he said. “Are they paying attention to the coach? Are they executing exactly what the skills coaches are asking them to do? We will be getting a pretty good idea from the skill perspective but not the physical part.”
Larman feels parents will be glad to hear about the non-contact aspect of the tryouts.
“Personally, I wouldn’t be sending my daughter to tryouts if I didn’t know what the parameters were.”
Tentative plans are in place to start the season in January but the state of the COVID-19 pandemic will ultimately determine when the league launches play.
“Juel is working on a number of different scenarios between starting in January or even into March,” Larman said. “They are looking at every possible scenario which is in the best interest of the players, the coaches and all the personnel that has to be there. They don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way.”
Larman is delighted Keltos and Sentance have returned as head coaches.
“You have two coaches coming back who have been involved with Juel for a number of years and they know what it is about,” he said. “In these uncertain times, it’s good to have things that are comfortable and it’s good that kids can see that there is consistency.”