The Beaver Valley Nitehawks coaching staff put potential Hawks through their paces this weekend at the Nitehawks annual spring camp at the Beaver Valley Arena.
About 40 young skaters took to the ice for three days of scrimmaging, practices, and a fitness seminar in hopes of impressing coaches Terry Jones, Kevin Limbert, and Jim Ingram.
“It went really well,” said Limbert, Nitehawks assistant coach. “There was a lot of local talent. We had some of our vets and our alumni come back and step up the pace and show the way for the younger players. But we had some good local talent and some good out-of-town talent, it was a great pace.”
With five vets graduating this season, the Nitehawks would like to see as many players as possible return to next year’s squad, but the outlook is still uncertain.
“It’s pretty up in the air, there’s only actually two or three that are 100 percent sure coming back, and the rest are pursuing junior A opportunities.”
Hawks players like Ross Armour and Spencer MacLean are reported to have already signed with junior A teams, while others like Hawks leading scorer Mitch Foyle continues to weigh his options.
“There’s quite a few where we could see you back, but also quite a few that we shouldn’t see back but we would definitely be okay if you did . . . but there’s no reason why he (Mitch) shouldn’t be playing junior A, he’s phenomenal.”
As for prospective Nitehawks, local players that impressed the coaching staff include Evan Gorman, Blake Sidoni, Christian Macasso, and the Ghiradosi twins to name just a few.
This weekend the Nitehawks continue their search for future Hawks as they travel to Cochrane for their Alberta camp.
In recent years the Hawks have tapped the Alberta pipeline for a number of quality players, most notably goaltender Brett Clarke, the 2014 Keystone Cup MVP and Trail Smoke Eater goalie last season. In addition, Taylor Stafford, McKoy Hauk, Jace Weegar, Lyle Frank, Tyler Hartman, Devin Nemes, Michael and Allan Pruss, Jack Vergouven, and Tyler Leicht all helped the team to the KIJHL Kootenay Conference final this year.
“Obviously we’re looking to put the best product on the ice, and if it comes down to a close decision, obviously you have to go with a local kid, because it just makes sense for so many reasons and we do want to develop local talent,” said Limbert. “But it ebbs and flows, some years are stronger than others and the years when it’s a bit thin you got to go out of town and find that crop that’s going to get you where you got to go.”