TAYLOR, B.C. – Forty four players showed up this past weekend for the first of two training camps for the NEBC Yukon Trackers.
The camp, held at the Taylor and District Ice Centre, left new team head coach David Johnston very impressed with the summer conditioning that players, both returning and new players exhibited. While there were some players that did not have access to ice over the summer and had issues with wearing skates for extended periods of time, he says that as a whole, the majority of players were in excellent physical shape considering this was for some the first on-ice session of the season.
Johnston says that the group of returning players were not only well-prepared, but also showed incredibly good leadership to the group of rookies. Not discounting them, Johnston also praised the rookie prospects, saying that their speed and skillsets were incredibly well-developed. He says that the group as a whole has some very strong skaters, which as a coach is exciting due to the game of hockey’s current paradigm that lauds speedy players.
The first day of the camp saw had Johnston running some of the more basic drills, but at a fast, high tempo with lots of speed and puck movement. Days two and three saw scrimmages that could let the coaching staff analyse the players in real-time. Johnston says that from a coaching perspective, the ability to watch from a different vantage point and evaluate where players fit on the team amongst their peers is favourable to being at ice level.
Though several players won’t be hitting the ice, Johnston says that most of the players trying out last weekend will be back for the Trackers second camp at the Pomeroy Sports Centre. Final decisions on the roster will be made over the next three days. Of the 44 players trying out, coaching staff needs to whittle the group down to a roster of 19 players and 10 affiliates by Thursday to ensure their enrolment in the Hockey Canada Skills Academy that the team is putting on in conjunction with the North Peace Secondary School and the Energetic Learning Campus.
The camp runs at the Pomeroy tonight night starting at 7:30, Wednesday night at 7:45, and Thursday afternoon at 3:00.