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KIJHL: Dynamiters announce cancellation of spring camp

Kimberley Dynamiters forced to cancel spring camp in Penticton due to low registration numbers
Forward Trevor Van Steinburg

The Kimberley Dynamiters board of directors has been forced to cancel the club's spring camp in Penticton due to low registration numbers.

Vice-president James Leroux confirmed that the camp, originally scheduled for May 13 to 15 at the South Okanagan Events Centre, has been cancelled after missing out on target registration numbers.

"We had poor attendance coming, we were only around 30 [registered participants]," said James Leroux, vice-president of the Kimberley Dynamiters, Monday morning. "I'm not sure what the issue is. We sent out a ton of invites. We had to get to 60 to 65 [registered participants] to make the camp worthwhile. It didn't look like we were going to get that target number, so we decided as a group to turf it."

The cancellation of the camp is big news as the 2016 off-season will see a great deal of change in Kimberley and this isn't the first camp the Dynamiters have struggled with in terms of attendance and registration numbers.

"We've tried to host two or three camps in the last year, one in Calgary, which we had the same issue," Leroux said. "I don't know if it's just people want to have a break [from hockey] or what it is. We just never have good luck with the spring camps.

"I think kids are worn out from a long season… When they get to the age of coming to us, I think they need that little bit of time away from the game to rejuvenate their body and mind."

Players already registered for the camp will be notified by the organization of the cancellation and any potential future camp dates via email.

With the retirement of former head coach Jerry Bancks, along with former general manager Mike Reid and a strong contingent of key players moving on from the organization, recruitment is high priority for the KIJHL club as it aims to maintain its standing as one of the league's prominent and successful franchises.

As of print deadline Monday, the Dynamiters are expected to move a minimum of eight players from the 2015-16 roster on to higher levels of hockey, be that college or Junior A.

"We've got a great board, everybody supports one another and there's lots of input and ideas," Leroux said. "We want to keep the direction of our team going the way it is. The last three years have been nothing but success and hype. Our attendance is through the roof. We want to put a product on the ice that's worthy of the hype that we have. We're excited about hiring a new coach and excited about the prospects coming up for us."

According to Leroux, the club has seen approximately 35 applications come through the door for the vacant head coach/general manager position. The posting is scheduled to close Friday, April 22, at which point the board of directors will move forward in paring down the candidates in the hopes of making a decision by the second week of May.

"We've got a tough job ahead of us," Leroux said. "There are lots of good candidates. It's a combination of dollars and cents, and the right candidate if they're willing to come. It's tough… It's an exciting time of the year for us, but it's a stressful time, too."

Until a new head coach is in place, Leroux doesn't expect there to be any discussions as to rescheduling or planning any other recruitment camps. That being said, Leroux did express that the board wants to see some sort of recruitment camp somewhere before the season begins.

The Dynamiters did not host a recruitment camp last off-season following the team's 2015 KIJHL championship triumph.