The 2010-11 BCHL season ended less than a week ago for Trail Smoke Eaters but the next season has already begun in earnest.
Thursday the team announced it has sent 18-year-old forward Dylan Tappe to the Prince George Spruce Kings to complete the January deal that brought Nic DeSousa to the Smokies.
Tappe had 17 points in 45 games during his rookie BCHL season while DeSousa delivered 14 points in 16 regular season games and six more in the playoffs.
“You don’t get something for nothing,” admitted Trail head coach and general manager Jim Ingram.
“We got a very good player who logged a boat-load of minutes for us and put points on the board. Unfortunately it cost us a very good young player. That’s the part that stings.”
Filling Tappe’s departure is just one of the many empty spots in the roster that Ingram will begin scouting for when the team hosts its annual Spring Camp from March 25 to 27 at the Cominco Arena.
The camp attracts over 70 players in each of the past four years and has yielded some talent. Players such as Steven Koshey, Jayson Reardon, Skyler Smutek have come out the camp and landed spots on the roster.
And with at least 10 vacancies already appearing in the lineup, there will be opportunities.
“There will be some kids here that will be able to push for jobs here,” said Ingram. “And we’ve got lots of jobs here.”
Ingram said the camp features a majority of players from 16-to-18-years-old.
“We’ve got lots of kids coming in. Between the kids around here, down on the coast, in the Okanagan and in the States, there’s no shortage of kids who want to come to the league.”
The team held its spring camp in Princeton for two years before bringing it to the Cominco Arena last year.
“You can look it a two ways,” said Ingram.
“I love having it here. The amount of Kootenay kids that come out is awesome.
“Princeton had its benefits too. It’s closer for the Okanagan kids and the coast.”
He said some teams tend to move their camps around the province but the cost associated with that can be expensive.
However, having the camp in Trail allows the staff to introduce prospective players and parents to the area, the facility and the franchise.
“We get to showcase the arena. People can have a look around town at the schools and hospital to put their minds at ease. And it’s great for the local businesses too.”
The camp will feature scrimmages on March 25 with practices and scrimmages on March 26.
The camp wraps up with scrimmages on the final day.