Rochester Junior Amerks taking shape at tryout camp

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – The Rochester Junior Amerks are a team for 16 to 20 year-olds and play in the North American Hockey League. Their goal is to make those players better.

“We’ve got an ownership group that’s committed to helping players develop and move along and reach their college dreams, whether it’s Division One or Division Three,” said Junior Amerks Director of Hockey Operations John Humphrey.

If players do want to play in college, this is the league to be in. Over the last six seasons, over 1,500 NAHL players have gone on to play in the NCAA. And the Junior Amerks want to compete right away.

“There’s different attributes that every player brings and we’re just trying to blend those together to make the best team we can,” said Humphrey.

“I’ve played since I was 3. I’ve played all types of different levels. This is definitely the highest level. It’s very fun. It’s very passionate,” said Robbie Aranos, who is originally from Pittsburgh, PA.

The Junior Amerks aren’t actually affiliated with the Rochester Americans. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t pro scouts watching.

“It’s a little nerve wracking, because you got the pros right there. That’s one of my goals, you gotta play really well in front of them,” said Nico Vaccaro, who is originally from Maryland.

Even though the junior Amerks want to win, what sets this team apart, is how much they care about developing players.

“They’re all about development. That’s what my goal is, develop to go to the next level. Their philosophy fits my motto,” said Vaccaro.

“Hopefully I make the team and we have a good season, but we’ll have to see what they say and see what we have to do,” said Aranos.

Camp ends on Sunday and after that, coaches and the front office will field a roster. The first game is at home on September 8 against the Philadelphia Rebels, signaling the start of a new way of hockey in Rochester.