Smoke Eaters Training camp looks for ‘Wow’ factor

The Cominco Arena will be heating up this week as hockey players grind it out for a spot on the Trail Smoke Eaters roster.

The Cominco Arena will be heating up this week as hockey players grind it out for a spot on the Trail Smoke Eaters roster.

Close to 70 players will face off during the three-day Smokies training camp that starts Thursday and concludes with the Orange vs White game Saturday.

Assistant coach Bob Dever spent the last three years coaching in Hungary and after eight years away from the BCHL is excited about hitting the ice again and evaluating the Smokies’ prospects.

“There are some guys who have been signed out of spring camp and then there’s some guys we’re pretty excited about in terms of recruiting and then there’s always the wild cards that come in and wow you,” said Dever.

With the advent of the Internet, the way staff recruits players has changed, but there’s always a player that comes in under the radar and has a great camp. That’s what Smokies’ coaching and scouting staff are looking for and hoping.

“There’s not a ton of surprises . . . but there is the odd guy who comes in and is not the type of player you thought they would be. That’s the beauty of training camp everybody starts on a fresh slate.”

The Smokies have a good core of  over-age players from last year but it doesn’t mean their positions are secure as there is always a good group of ambitious and excited young guys that want to take spots, he added.

But if players are looking to impress Smoke Eater staff, Dever suggests they play their own game.

“I like to tell kids, ‘If you’re a dancer, dance and if you’re a singer, sing.’ Don’t try to be something that your not . . . but the other side of the coin is that you always want to be noticed.”

The new assistant coach won’t say the Smokies are in a re-building stage but after losing six of its top scorers from last year, some sports pundits have picked the Trail team to finish in the division basement this season.

“I’ve heard some rumbling about people saying we’re picked to finish dead last, but that’s okay – there’s nothing wrong with upsetting people’s expectations about being in last place.”

Dever looks at his absence from the BCHL as  a positive for the Smokies. Although unfamiliar with many of the players, the coach goes into camp with fresh eyes where “every kid has a chance to prove themselves.”

The players are divided into four teams of about 15 skaters and  practice in the morning before scrimmaging in the afternoon Thursday. Friday ice times are all scrimmages. The camp wraps up with the top 30 skaters going head-to-head in a high-intensity Orange vs White final scrimmage Saturday.

Trail also hosts the Labour Day tournament with Powell River Kings and the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Brooke’s Bandits, as well as new edition, the Wenatchee Wild from the U.S. Junior League. The first game goes Sept. 1.

Smoke Eaters camp schedule:


10-11 a.m. – Practice Team Red

11:30-12:30 a.m. – Practice

Team White

1-2 p.m. – Practice Team Gold

2:30-3:30 p.m. – Practice

Team Blue

4- 5:15 – Game 1 Red vs White

5:45- 7 p.m. – Game 2

Gold vs Blue


10-11:15 a.m. – Game 3

Blue vs White

11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. – Game 4

Red vs Gold

2-3 p.m. – Goalie Session

4-5:15 p.m. – Game 5

Gold vs White

5:45-7 p.m. – Game 6

Red vs Blue


9-10 a.m. – Game 7 White vs Red

10:30-11:30 a.m. – Game 8

Blue vs Gold

1-3 p.m. – Final Game

Orange vs White

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Trees blown over by a windstorm in forest owned by Anderson Creek Timber. Photo: Anderson Creek Timber
Timber company logging near Nelson raises local concerns

Anderson Creek Timber owns 600 hectares of forest adjacent to the city

Keith Smyth, Kootenay Savings director at-large joins children from the Kids’ Care Centre at St. Michael’s Catholic School. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay Savings continues credit union’s tradition of giving

Funding totalling $48,250, is going to a wide array of Kootenay initiatives

From left: Karl Luedtke (West Arm Outdoors Club), Dale Williams (BCWF), Molly Teather (FLNORD), Gord Grunerud (West Arm Outdoors Club), Eugene Volokhov (Grand Prize Winner), Casey McKinnon and Lex Jones (Jones Boys Boats). Photo: Tammy White, Whitelight Photography
Balfour man lands big prize from angler incentive program

Eugene Volokhov of Balfour is now the proud owner of a sleek 18-foot Kingfisher boat

“I want to see the difference in the world, embrace it, celebrate it … ” Photo: David Cantelli/Unsplash
A new way to say ‘Hello’

“Inclusion, you see, is NOT about making us all the same.”

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Most Read