The intensity has been increasing in practices for the U13 A Red Warriors hockey team.

Red Warriors head coach Taylor Smith said his team is looking forward to some exhibition games.

“The practices have been piling up, and actually last practice we let the kids know that the games are starting right around the corner, and I told them (Tuesday) that we would be starting on Saturday,” Smith said. “You wouldn’t believe the reaction I got from the kids. They got quite excited.”

It’s a natural reaction for players who haven’t been able to lace up the skates in a game for over seven months. Smith said the team has been coming to practice every day and working hard, but they're happy to see some exhibition games around the corner.

“The practices pile up, and the kids are practicing a lot of skill drills, but at the same time we’ve got a lot of game-time situation drills,” Smith said. “And we’ve actually been doing a lot of dryland (training), so we’re mixing it up a little.”

Smith said the team has been putting in a lot of work at practices and have shown a lot to the coaching staff.

“Each one of these kids has shown their strengths in the tryouts and they all deserve to be here,” he said. “We’ve been practicing lots and absolutely they’re ready for games.”

The Red Warriors are playing in the Hockey Regina U13 A league, which is expected to have regular-season games in the first part of November.