Hockey season is just around the corner and the Kimberley Dynamiters are holding their main camp this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
According to head coach and general manager Derek Stuart, things will be a little different this year, having learned many lessons in his inaugural season.
He explained that this year’s camp will be smaller, because there are less roster spots open due to the number of returning veterans. There are about eight returning players and four to five on the bubble of returning depending on tryouts with WHL or Junior A clubs.
“We are only going to have two teams [at camp],” Stuart said. “With a condensed schedule in three days, and the teams seeing each other three times, the intensity and compete will be high.”
Heading into camp, the Nitros have six to seven returning defenders, which will be a massive strength for the team. However, there is more uncertainty with offense and goaltending then defence.
As a result of players moving on, there are some holes up front. James Farmer, who was excellent on defence at the end of last season, has been moved back to forward to help fill those gaps.
As for goaltending, this is new territory for Nitros fans in recent memory, as the Nitros don’t have a returning goalie. While Cody Campbell is listed on the team’s roster, he is trying out at the Junior A level. “You hope and want players
“You hope and want players make it to the next level,” Stuart said. “If they don’t, we welcome them back.”
It’s not just the staff that are looking forward to camp, players are also chomping at the bit to get back on the ice.
“Looking at the roster and seeing how much potential we have,” said Devon Langelaar, a returning player. “We could make a serious run for provincials.
“It’s my last year, I have to have high goals.”
Farmer echoed the same enthusiasm.
“We expect to win, it’s not a given, you have to work for it,” he said. “We have good guys coming back, so we definitely think we have a good opportunity.”
While Stuart is excited about the season, he said the team’s goals come later in the year, but added that they want to get to the conference finals again but with a different ending.
For now though, his focus is on camp.
“We want a really intense and really competitive camp,” Stuart said “We hope our veterans realize that and set the tone. We want to build off the success of last season.”
The camp is open to the public. It starts Friday at 6 p.m. with practices until 9:15 p.m. On Saturday there will be two scrimmages, first game is at 1:30 p.m. and the second is at 6:45 p.m. The camp then concludes with a scrimmage on Sunday at 11 a.m.
“We are going to give it all, we are going to be the best we can,” Farmer promised. “Hopefully [we’ll] make it fun to watch.”