There were some familiar faces at the Oceanside Generals main camp last weekend, and no shortage of youngsters pushing hard to make an impression.
General manager Dave Johnston was in a great mood Monday morning, and was quick to credit new head coach Jason Dubyna for a job well done in his first time overseeing training camp.
“It was awesome. I’m thrilled with the way that Jason handled the weekend, and I’m thrilled with the level of talent we have here,” said Johnston.
“It went well,” Jason echoed the following day. “I was real happy with the level of hockey on the ice.”
Forty-one players turned out for the high octane camp, and Dubyna and company will be taking 25 of them into the VIJHL’s three day (Aug. 26-28) , three game pre-season jamboree held at Kerry Park Arena in Mill Bay.
By camp’s end, Dubyna, who is heading into his 8th season with the local Jr. B hockey club (two as a player, five as an assistant coach) and first as head coach, had signed backup goalie Tighernan ‘Tigger’ Marsh, 17, from Campbell River, big D-man Nathan Deyell, 16, from Vancouver, as well as skilled forward Colby Lim, 17, from Port Alberni.
“We had the idea of what (positions) we wanted to select,” said Dubyna, adding “where we’re at now is that we have to wait for the Jr. A’s to make their selections (camps run Aug. 22 go into Sept.), so we’ll be waiting for Labour Day weekend to finally be able to finalize our roster.”
Local D-man Noah Russi, who signed with the Generals back in June, was also in the mix.
Worth noting is that there were 12 players on the ice that suited up with the Save On Foods crew last year, which is a higher number than normal and bodes well for the team.
Standouts on the weekend included Nanaimo hopefuls, forwards Lee Orpen and Taylor Grobowski, and retuning D-man Keenan McConnell.
“Taylor was the leading point getter in the camp very offensive and played hard, and Keenan came back from the off season a lot stronger and playing with a lot more confidence,” said Dubyna.
“For sure,” Dubyna answered quickly when asked if it felt good to start putting a face to the team as it were, adding “now we’re seeing where guys are going to fit. It shed some light on how the team is going to look for sure.”
In the meantime, the tinkering continues.