Six months ago, questions abounded for OHL prospect Kohen Crane and the balance of his teammates with the Sudbury U16 AAA Wolves.
And while there is nothing close to 100% certainty to the hockey landscape that the locals will face early in 2021, things are still so much better than they were at the time when the leaves were green and folks were lounging by the pool.
"I wasn't really sure where I was going to play or what was going to happen, so I just made sure that I got myself in shape to get ready for the season," said Crane, following a recent 3-3 tie in an intra-squad game for the squad with coach Ryan Yurich at the helm.
"I trained with Rick Kilganon, all summer, five days a week. We did a lot of work on my footwork, my explosiveness, so that really helped me prepare."
Eventually, the reward for all of the work came in the form of some game action, as the Sudbury crew would match-up against the North Bay U16 AAA Trappers, a pretty decent showdown of somewhat comparable squads.
"I think we're pretty even, which is why the games were so close on the weekend that just passed," stated Crane. "I think we're maybe a little bit of a faster skating team, but they kind of like to slow the play down, handle the puck a bit more and set things up."
And though there is absolutely no guarantee that the annual distribution of young hockey talent across the twenty Ontario Hockey League teams will occur at its most recently traditional time in early April, the forward in the twin-bill Crane connection on the team (twin brother Carson is a defenceman with the U16 Wolves) remains focused on ensuring that whatever scouts may be in the stands walk away with a fair assessment of his talent.
"A big part of my game that I need to highlight is my skating," said Crane. "I think I'm a little bit stronger in that, so I need to use that."
On this particular night, Crane would drive to the net hard, rewarded with the second goal for his team after being stymied in tight on an earlier chance by goaltender Brady Fedat-Tellier.
Joining Crane on the scoresheet for Team Navy were Andrew Noel and Noah Kohan, while Team White pulled even on goals from Owen Myre, Carson Crane and Jet Bertrand.