A reminder to any hockey fans needing a fix that the Oceanside Generals Jr. Hockey Club’s annual spring prospects camp goes Saturday at ‘the Place.
This camp, says Oceanside Generals Jr. Hockey Club returning president/governor Sylvain Giroux “will allow the Generals to identify player abilities and determine future potential to be an Oceanside General. Selected players from this camp will be invited to attend our main training camp in August.”
Check-in goes Friday from 4-5 p.m. at Oceanside Place, and the players will be on the ice Saturday morning and again in the afternoon.
This is head coach and GM Brent Demerais’ second season with the team, but his first overseeing the selection process.
“For sure,” Demerais answered quickly when asked if he’s looking forward to overseeing his first prospects camp with the Gens — he joined the team after the main camp last season.
“It’s almost like starting fresh,” he surmised. “Just doing our own recruiting; finding players that we want to have and putting our own stamp on (the team).”
Rob Gaudreault is back for his second season as assistant coach, and Demerais said “they’ll be a bunch of the guys from last year skating with us on Saturday; maybe 11-12 of them.”
A number of BCHL teams will also be represented at the camp. “I think they’ll be enough for about four teams, maybe 60 players.”
And while it’s still early in the process, Demerais and Gaudreault, who have coached together for years in Port Alberni, have been busy in the off season.
“Totally,” said Demerais. “We’ve been to a few Jr. A camps, and last weekend me and Robby were asked to work the benches for the Nanaimo Clippers’ training camp, just to keep close ties with them, with (head coach) Mike Vandekamp.”
Good news for the Generals is the pair have been invited back to the Clippers’ main camp.
“It’s really good,” Demerais said of the working relationship the two clubs have formed, adding the camps are a great place to recruit players.
“That’s where you find last cuts for the Jr. A, and (the Clippers) like to keep them close to Nanaimo in case of injuries to their club, so we might be able to get a few of them.
“I think we’ll be a little bit younger and we’ll have a lot more speed than we did last year,” the easy going but dedicated bench boss surmised when asked for some insight into the team Oceanside will be icing this season. “I think it’ll be a harder working team than last year, and that’s the big thing with me. I don’t care about the score — win lose or draw I want to see effort and I think a lot of these younger guys that have the skill set and an opportunity to move up, those are the kind of guys that are going to work really hard.”
There will be about 10 goalies in the mix Saturday. Admission is free, and spectators are welcome.
The Generals finished the 2012/2013 VIJHL regular season seventh in the nine-team league at 20-25-2 and were swept in the first round of the playoffs by Comox Valley.