Oceanside’s Save On Foods Generals’ new head coach had his clip-board full at the team’s annual Spring Prospects Camp recently, evaluating players in preparation for main camp in August.
“It’s different,” he said when asked about the new position.
Jason Dubyna, 34, spent two seasons with the Gens lacing up as a defenceman and the last five as assistant coach under Dave Johnston, who retains the role of GM and takes over as the new director of hockey operations.
Dubyna certainly knows what he’s getting into.
“The last couple years, being mentored to take on the role, and now to do it, it’s exiting and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to put my stamp on the team and continue with what we have in place.
“Just to be prepared and to make sure everything is running smooth,” he said when asked what the biggest change in his role with the team will be. “There’s a lot of time spent outside the arena preparing others. It’s much different now that I’m in charge of the assistants, making sure they know they’re responsibilities — that will be the biggest difference I’m finding.”
Dubyna’s first official job as the club’s newly anointed head coach came at the squad’s recent annual spring Prospects Camp May 20-22, which featured 60 players including eight goalies.
“I thought it went well,” Dubyna said after. “I was impressed with the talent level. I thought it was a higher caliber from top to bottom than last year, and I think overall there were a lot of young kids that are just a step away from playing at our level, playing junior hockey which (bodes well). It will make it tough in our selection but in the long run …”
The locals that were there, about a dozen of them, he said,“showed well. He pointed out the local Midget Rep program, which Johnston has been working with closely for the last few years, is developing strong players.
In the end, Dubyna and the Gens signed two defenceman — Shawn Benvegnu, 18 (he’ll be 19 when the season starts) from Salt Lake City, Utah — and Darion Pauze, 17, from Quesnel, B.C.
Local D-man Noah Russi, 17, and Luke Tully, an 18-year-old forward from the North Shore Winter Club are the other two players signed to cards, and both had strong camps, so with four of their 25 cards spoken for, “basically August we get the returning players back on the ice at main camp and they battle for the other 20 spots.”
The annual Blue/White game on the Sunday was a lot more physical than years past.
“It was competitive,” chuckled Dubyna.
“I think overall this year the kids were trying harder to make an impression, they all want to be picked.”
The Generals’ main camp is slated for mid-August at Oceanside Place and will feature around 40 players including some 15 returnees and 20 invited from the Prospects Camp.