Smokie coach looks for balance

The Smoke Eaters AGM also provided insight into the up-and-coming on-ice product.

The Smoke Eaters AGM also provided insight into the up-and-coming on-ice product as the coaching staff prepares for the Smokies Spring Training Camp in Whistler this weekend.

Trail will look to improve on a year that began filled with promise, but crucial injuries and an extended mid-season slump ended the Smoke Eaters hopes at a playoff run. Still, the team was successful off the ice graduating a number of players to play college hockey including Greater Trail products Scott Davidson, Craig Martin, Jake Lucchini, and Dallas Calvin.

“Looking at the past year we had 10 NCAA committed players come through our program, which as Trail and its history and as a small market team that angle is very beneficial to parents, it’s what players play for, so to have that this past season is definitely a positive,” head coach Nick Deschenes.

However, Deschenes predicts there will be less than half that number of committed players in the line up to start the season, and believes that may be beneficial to creating a new dynamic.

“We’re not going to have as many scholarships, I’m guessing three to five scholarships to start the year, which will lend itself to a lot of players who are on that cusp are really going to be hungry and will push for those opportunities.”

While only five other BCHL teams scored more goals than Trail, 208, last season, the Smoke Eaters had the second worst goals against, 249, in the league. Deschenes would like to see that disparity of a high-octane offence and a not-so-effective defence and goaltending become more balanced.

“It’s really going to be a different team, it’s not going to be the Dallas Calvins, or Jake Lucchinis or any of those offensive threats, but overall it’s going to be a balanced attack,” said Deschenes. “It’s going to be a different look. It’s going to be balanced, gritty, physical, and hungry team. We’re going to be tough to play against, and be better defensively and in goal.”

Approximately 100 players have signed up for the camp, with many talented Lower Mainland prospects ready to hit the ice.Many of the players attending have been identified as future prospects and on the coach’s radar for upcoming years.

“It’s hard to evaluate a kid over four days, but if you see him over the course of a year, that says a lot,” said Deschenes. “I can see him have a great game, but I’m wondering if that’s all the time, we’re you better than last month . . . We committed a kid last camp because we saw that progression.”

Deschenes is also looking forward to consulting with new assistant coach Ryan Donald who will join the coaching staff in Whistler this weekend.

The Smoke Eater Booster Club will also be back to help with fundraising and nutrition and maintain the excellent community relations developed by last year’s club.

Just Posted

Head-on collision near Castlegar sends two to hospital

Accident closed Hwy 22 while rescue operations took place.

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

BC Hockey makes a stopover in Trail

Kootenay Columbia students introduced to Celly as BC Hockey celebrates 100 years

Reach a Reader today in downtown Trail

Funds raised in Trail and Fruitvale stay here to support free family literacy programs and books

Now that pot is legal, where can you smoke it?

Municipal and provincial bylaws are in place to regulate where pot can be smoked in B.C.

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

BC Ferries begins taking debit in two-month pilot project

Company is giving customers option to use Interac on two-month trial on select vessels

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

Most Read