The Trail Smoke Eaters will welcome about 100 prime prospects to their ID Camp this weekend.
“We are excited about the prospects that are coming,” said Smoke Eaters director of hockey operations Craig Clare. “We have a good local contingent as well that we are very interested in seeing.”
Smoke Eaters fans will get a first look at committed players like goalie Teagan Kendrick from St. Albert, who will look to fill a big void in the crease with the graduation of goalie Evan Fradette.
Other commits who are attending include Coquitlam native Brody Juck and Kelowna native Remy Spooner. Juck is a six-foot-two defenceman from the U18 Vancouver NE Chiefs that started the season with Coquitlam Express and played 14 games as a 16-year-old in the BCHL. Spooner, meanwhile, is a talented 17-year-old forward from the Okanagan Hockey Academy who amassed 30 points in 27 games.
Clare is excited about the commits and local talent from the U18 ranks and KIJHL teams like the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.
“There’s too many to even list,” said Clare. “But a good group of 2004-05 guys. We are looking, after this weekend, to potentially commit to a couple players.”
The camp is open to junior-aged players born in 2003-2007. Trail’s coaching, scouting and hockey operations staff will be conducting player evaluations throughout the three-day camp.
The Smoke Eaters finished in eighth place out of nine teams in the Interior Conference and, as a result, Clare says the team will look for improvements in all facets of the game.
“I think when you have a season like we had, we are looking everywhere,” said Clare. “Like goaltending, we committed to a good goalie, but obviously we want to solidify that spot, and we have a 20-year-old potentially coming back as well.”
Trail will have a solid group of returning defencemen and high-end forwards, including the return of leading scorer Brady Hunter and top forward Quinn Disher.
“We like the strength of where our team is at,” said Clare. “We have a lot of returning defence potentially, but with saying that, we finished second last in our division and we’re looking to improve in all areas.
“Whether you’re a returning player or not, we are going to put the work in to get the best players and turn this around.”
The camp starts on Friday with small area games and practices going from 1 to 5:30 p.m.
The six teams will then play one hour games with Blue vs Green at 6:15 p.m., Red vs Yellow at 7:30 p.m. and Orange vs Silver at 8:45 p.m.
Saturday starts off with a goalie session at 9 a.m. followed by games at 10:15 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Three more games go in the evening at 4 p.m., 5:45 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Exit interviews will follow each of the evening matches.
On Sunday morning, Trail fans can get a glimpse of our future Smoke Eaters in the Top 40 Game, where the most impressive players will take to the ice for a scrimmage from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with exit interviews to follow.