TRAVERSE CITY — Will Badner is all set for Wednesday's Traverse City North Stars home opener.
The Cadillac native will be making his debut on the Traverse City side of the bench after playing last season for Motor City.
"It is (different)," Badner said. "I like it, though. I like the coaches and the players. They have a strict mindset of working hard. It's the best way to go about things. I like it more being with them than against them."
Traverse City comes into the home opener after posting a 3-0-1 mark at the North American Hockey League Showcase and a 3-1 exhibition slate.
"We played well and really could have been 4-0," head coach Chad Fournier said. "We're still learning how to play a complete game, but we're really happy with how things started."
Port Huron has also started off fairly well, notching a 3-1-2 mark in a half dozen contests. That's half as many wins already as the Fighting Falcons had all of last season, when they were the league's worst team with a 6-46-6 record. Traverse City, meanwhile, is coming off a 40-17-1 season that saw the Stars rack up the fourth-most points in the league.
However, this year the Falcons have many veterans back from that squad, and experienced teams often thrive in the NAHL.
Port Huron defeated Traverse City 5-2 in an exhibition game this season, giving the Stars a sneak peak at the Falcons' improvement.
"It just shows us how hard we're going to have to work," Fournier said. "They're an older team, a bigger team. They've got more experience than we do, and that really showed in the exhibition game. We've got a lot further to go than they do with all their experience."