The Kimberley Dynamiters have wrapped up their training camp and are gearing up for exhibition action to cut down their roster before the beginning of the regular season in two weeks.
The Nitros had roughly 30 skaters attend their main camp over the weekend at the Civic Centre in Kimberley, which consisted of rigorous fitness testing and intrasquad games between two teams.
Camp finished on Sunday with the annual Red-Black game, which ended with a 5-5 tie in regulation, however, the boys put on a show and took the contest to a shootout.
“We decided to go with a smaller camp,” said Nitro assistant coach Jordan Foreman. “Our summer camp we had about 75 players but we like to keep the main camp a little more competitive and only brought players that we know kind of have the chance to make the team. A lot of talent out there.”
Camp featured a number of returning veterans from last year’s squad such as Jeremy Mousseau, Riley Stishenko, Corson Johnstone, Brett Luker, Olli Dickson, Jared Marchi, Jordan Bartusek, Taylor McDowell and Isaac Schacher.
Some new faces included Sam Nigg, a centreman who played half of last season with the Penticton Lakers and was a member of the Osoyoos Coyotes when the franchise won the KIJHL championship in it’s debut season back in 2010/11.
“He’s a player I’ve had my eye on for probably the last two years,” said Foreman. “He’s a very skilled player, he’s won the league with Osoyoos. He can put up numbers but he’s also a really good shutdown forward.”
Nigg, 19, bounced between three separate teams last season, but put up 38 points in 43 games.
Other faces came in from Alberta, as Foreman worked to recruit players from the Whitecourt Wolverines, which folded its Junior B team and moved up into the AJHL.
Camp also featured some young local prospects such as Jason Richter, Aaron Shubert and Marco Campanella, who worked hard to make an impression on the coaching staff.
“We’re very happy with our 16-year-olds,” said Foreman. “Tyson Klingspohn, out of Penticton and Jason Richter, from Cranbrook here. Both of them I think are going to be a huge part of the team this year.”
Nitro head coach Roman Vopat credits Foreman, for doing most of the recruiting in the off-season to bring new blood to the organization.
Foreman said Vopat, a former NHLer, along with former WHL coach Kris Knoblauch, are great recruiting tools when approaching new players.
“Having a head coach and GM that has played in the NHL, obviously has a lot of experience in the European leagues as well,” said Foreman. “On top of that, we have Kris Knoblauch, who is a great addition for us. I think me and Roman can both learn a lot from him.”
Exhibition season opens on Thursday evening in Fernie with a game against the Glacier Nationals, an American Junior A team from Washington State.
The Nationals played the ‘Riders twice last weekend, ending with a 3-3 draw on Saturday and a 2-1 Fernie victory on Sunday.