The Nanaimo Clippers have a better idea now of the young talent that’s out there, and they want to bring some of that talent into the fold.
The city’s junior A hockey club held a spring camp this past weekend at the Nanaimo Ice Centre and watched 115 teens battle it out in three games each over two days.
“Three games is plenty,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach and general manager. “Although the level [of spring camp] is certainly not junior A level, I think you can see enough of players’ size, strength, skating ability, competitiveness; it’s a chance to meet the kids. It very much served its purpose.”
Only three of the 115 players at camp were signed recruits, but that could change in the coming days and weeks.
“We may commit to a player or two out of this camp…” Vandekamp said. “There was some players who we definitely are going to bring back to main camp and there’s also some younger players who I really think are good future guys for us to follow.”
Most of the higher-end players at the NIC this past weekend were prospects who were already on the Clippers’ radar, but not all of them.
“Some of the players that stood out and did well were players we didn’t even know before we had the camp,” said the GM. “That’s what you hope will happen.”
The weekend wasn’t just a chance for the Clippers to get a look at the prospects – it was also a chance for the prospects to decide if the Clippers might be the right team for them. Some potential recruits attend multiple junior A camps at this time of year. So Vandekamp was glad that the camp went smoothly and that he heard “really positive” feedback from players’ families on a beautiful weekend in Nanaimo.
“People were just generally happy with what they saw,” Vandekamp said.