Ryan Donald, the head coach and general manager of the Cranbrook Bucks, demonstrates a drill during an on-ice session at the Memorial Arena on Wednesday morning. Trevor Crawley photo.

Cranbrook Bucks rookie camp underway at Memorial Arena

Players on invite in town showcasing their skills to coaching staff looking to round out roster

Rookie camp for the Cranbrook Bucks is underway,as aspiring junior hockey players are being drilled and evaluated by coaching staff with the BCHL’s newest franchise at the Memorial Arena.

Players are in Cranbrook on invite from the Bucks to showcase their skills and abilities as management and coaches continue to identify talent and fill out the roster.

“They’ve been out here with practices each day so far, we’re going to have six ice session with each player, so it’s been productive,” said Ryan Donald, the head coach and general manager of the Cranbrook Bucks. “We’re getting a chance to bring players in, work with them a little bit, hopefully teach them a few things while they’re here in town that they can take with them back where they’re going to go for the rest of the year.

“And hopefully identify some players that are going to be players for us, whether short-term near future here, maybe this coming season, or years to follow, so it’s a good opportunity to get everybody on an even playing field and under the same roof.”

Normally, that roof would be Western Financial Place, however, the city is currently wrapping up roof replacement and capital upgrade projects inside the arena.

The rookie camp sets the table for the franchise as main camp is scheduled to get underway later this month. The Bucks have been busy over the summer with recruitment, with one goaltender, five defencemen and eight forwards already committed to the franchise.

While camp is underway, things look a little different than normal due protocols issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the Bucks are still able to hold on and off-ice sessions given that viaSport recently moved into Phase 3, meaning protocols will be ‘progressively loosened’ as sporting activities resume.

“It’s certainly been a challenge, but one thing I would say is that is that the city’s been awesome with us, in terms of allowing us to develop a plan that’s going to work for the players that are here, to give them an opportunity to showcase themselves,” Donald said.


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