Trail Smoke Eaters prep for Vancouver camp

About 100 players expected to attend Trail Smoke Eaters development camp in Delta this weekend

The Trail Smoke Eaters are taking their recruiting efforts on the road as the team prepares for its Vancouver Spring ID Camp in Delta this weekend.

The Smokies development camp will host about 100 players divided into six teams with a diverse range of talented up-and-comers.

“We have probably the best numbers of all time coming into this camp,” said Tambellini. “Our new assistant GM Jeff Urekar has done a great job recruiting good calibre players.”

Related read: New recruits impress at Smoke Eaters camp

The Smokies will look at a handful of ‘04 forwards that were invited to the U16 Provincial Camp in Shawnigan Lake in July, including Trail native Jacob Smith, in addition to older recruits assembled over the year from the Major Midget, Hockey Academies, and Junior B ranks.

“It’s a really good range from guys that age up to some of our current guys like Kent Johnson, (Kieran) O’Hearn, (Trevor) Isaakson, (Jimmy) Darby, (Tyler) Ghirardosi, and our recruits too, so it will be a wide range but a great chance for our older guys to take a leadership role and if there are players that think they can make our team, then this is a good chance to compare themselves to our players.”

The camp opens with three games on Friday night, followed by practices for all teams Saturday morning, then three more games in the afternoon.

“A lot of these camps are great opportunities to build a relationship with these players and get to work with them one-on-one,” said Tambellini. “I like to get on the ice with each player and get to know them a little bit.”

The camp wraps up on Sunday with three more matches and exit interviews to follow. The camp will give new recruits a chance to impress, but also current players and commits an opportunity to show why they belong.

“It’s a pretty wide range. The young kids that won’t be eligible to play, we want to identify the type of player they are, give them exposure to our program and how we run things. The kids that are closer to junior eligibility, we want to see where they’re at, compare them to our current guys and commits for next year, and give a chance to our commits to really establish who they are as players.”

Related read: Trail Smoke Eaters make huge commitments

The Smoke Eaters have as many as 10 players returning and have committed to top-end guys like Chase Dafoe, Corey McCann, Jordan Hendry, and, more recently, Philippe Lapointe, Connor Sweeney, and Braden Costello, so the potential room remaining on the roster may be tight.

Trail has yet to establish whether goalie Donovan Buskey will return. The Smokies have rookie Logan Terness committed, but there is a distinct possibility that Buskey, a former Western Hockey League goalie, will return to the Dub. In the meantime, Tambellini and Urekar are hoping to secure rights to a number of goaltenders that fall short of a WHL roster spot.

“We’re looking for top end guys and we have to wait a little bit, so we’re being patient, but again trying to find the best guy for the job.”

The camp won’t have all of Trail’s returning players and commits attending, but will showcase many future Smoke Eaters. Finding another Kent Johnson would be ideal. The 16-year-old Port Moody native dominated play at last year’s Vancouver camp and went on to a stellar rookie season scoring 20 goals and 46 points in 57 games, and receiving a BCHL Rookie of the Year nomination.

“We’ve hit a couple home runs with players in trying to build the culture we want here. We think we have a team that’s going to be extremely deep, a lot of competition from within,” added Tambellini. “We’ll see where we get to when camp opens, but we’re a lot further ahead than this time last year.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

What you see …

If you have a recent photo to share email it (large or actual) to

Trail Smoke Eaters host Langley Rivermen and Chilliwack Chiefs this weekend

Trail Smoke Eaters look to get back on winning track against Mainland Division teams

Kelowna Ballet tonight in the Bailey

Grapevine: Local events from Nov. 21 to Nov. 27

More cases of fake $50 bills in Trail, online scams

Visit the Bank of Canada website for more info on counterfeit money

Proper oil, proper levels, propel today’s powerhouse engines

Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician in East Trail

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

Algae bloom killing farmed fish on Vancouver Island’s West Coast

DFO says four Cermaq Canada salmon farms affected, fish not infectious

Three cops investigated in connection to ex-Vancouver detective’s sexual misconduct

Fisher was convicted in 2018 after pleading guilty to kissing two young women who were witnesses in a criminal case

Violence response procedures updated for B.C. schools, police

ERASE program expands to target gangs, bullying of students

A pawsitive ending: Missing puppy found after nine-day search in Chilliwack

Pit bull Frankie ran from dog sitter booked through app

Federal laws at heart of West’s anger up for debate, as Liberals begin outreach

Vancouver mayor to Trudeau’s western critics: ‘Get over yourselves’

Snowboard pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter dies at 65

He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011

Teen developed ‘popcorn lung’ due to vaping: Ontario doctors

Boy went from being in perfect health to being on life support after just five months

Most Read