(Updated) Yesterday I made the 8 hour trek from Edmonton to Regina to view the 5 day Western Prospects Bantam Pre-Season Showcase & Evaluation Camp presented by Okanagan Hockey.
From their website:
The Western Prospects Bantam Pre-Season Showcase & Evaluation Camp is a very competitive event looking to attract dedicated individuals, who will be eligible for the 2017 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. The camp allows players born in 2002 the opportunity to showcase their talents prior to the 2016-2017 hockey season and make that all important “First Impression” in front of WHL General Managers, Scouts and Coaches in a “High Performance Environment”.
This post will be updated as the day goes on. First thing is first, it is 8:30am Monday morning and I need to find Tim Hortons.
Word is there are a few Edmonton notables that will be attending; I will be confirm once I see the roster.
Registration opened with a stampede of players in the queue. The line up was halfway down the building!
11:00 – 2:00pm
The morning sessions included a few hours covering the inner workings of the WHL; mainly focused on the educational benefits.
I really enjoy watching these sessions as one of the first things always mentioned to the players by the speakers is to fix their hats & put them on the right way!
*Readers will know this is a major pet peeve of mine! (http://www.hockeyinfo.ca/hockey-athlete-etiquette-part-1-look/)
After a quick lunch and nap; I will be heading back to watch the evening on-ice testing.
As expected there is a multitude of talent on the ice! Over 160 players in attendance, all the Western Canadian provinces, two territories, Ontario, California, Arizona & even a fellow from Texas!
The on ice testing being done with RFID chips & laser gates; a vastly superior method than the old hand held stopwatch. All the results being uploaded instantly to their server where the players can monitor their standing.
*I will update this post with the company/product name of this system as soon as I get a hold of it.
The players had an extra treat tonight as the skills training session was run by former NHL Buffalo Sabre & 2003 Team Canada Captain (Spengler Cup) Dixon Ward.
Sadly as it usually happens I have to return to Alberta for work. While I will not get a chance to watch the competitive games scheduled all this coming week, I was extremely fortunate to be able to watch some future WHL draft picks on the ice.
These kids are skilled, fast and hungry for a chance to play at the highest level possible. A really interesting fact worth mentioning (considering the aim of this web site) is shear number of Spring hockey players in attendance! I didn’t even need to go from parent to parent asking about their child; the hockey gear bags & helmet stickers told me all I needed to know!
I was right, the two Edmonton talents are in attendance, I will be keeping in contact with parents to see how they fare against these stacked rosters!
One of the best quotes I heard at the early seminars was during the talk about attitudes and off ice performance. One of the speakers said “You have the opportunity to be a good person a lot longer than you have to be a good hockey player”.