Updated: July 30, 2020 11:04 PM
Created: July 30, 2020 10:39 PM
(ABC 6 News) - The Austin Bruins Main Camp is almost over, but the remaining prospects are getting ready to compete in an All-Star Game scheduled for Friday night at Riverside Arena.
"This is probably the most talented group we've had," Bruins Head Coach Steve Howard said about this year's camp versus other ones he has been at.
And according to Grizzlies Head Coach Chris Ratzloff, who has been at camp all week, everybody is excited to be there. This year, due to the pandemic, the camp is set up a little different, but the goal is still the same.
"It's been a little weird, but once you get back on the ice, everything is the same," Carson Riddle, a forward with the Bruins, said. "You're still working hard, trying to achieve that goal. [The] mindset coming into camp this year was show these young guys how to play, how the culture is here, and just be ready to work."
Everything is building up to Friday's All-Star game, where the prospects will look to make it through the next round of cuts, while facing off in front of a sold-out, 250 person crowd.
A smaller crowd than the Bruins might be used to, but it's a little piece of normal. The coaches and players know how much this game and opportunity means to those vying for roster spots as well as the community.
"It's gonna be so nice to see our fans again," Riddle said. "It's not going to be our capacity that it usually is but still. 250 is 250 and it's going to be nice to have fans in the stands and give them something to come watch. "
The 250 capacity limit is set by the state, but Riverside Arena has other protocols in place. Masks are mandatory, social distancing will be enforced and there will be hand sanitizer available. This all comes down to safety first.
"Ultimately if we don't have a good night with the all-star game and there ends up being issues with COVID-19, who knows how that could affect the season," Bruins Director of Broadcasting TJ Chillot said. "That's the last thing we want so we are going to be playing it very very safe."
Puck drops at Riverside Arena at 7:05 on Friday.
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