Kootenay Ice head coach Luke Pierce has been named to the coaching staff for the Western Hockey League’s 11th U.S. Combine Camp.
Set to be hosted at the Anaheim Ice Facility in Anaheim, Calif., from April 15 to 17, the U.S. Combine Camp will provide an opportunity for American-born hockey players to suit up alongside other 2001-born prospects in a evaluation-type setting conducted by the WHL.
“I’m very thankful to be given the opportunity to attend the combine and represent our organization and the WHL,” Pierce said Monday. “I look forward to seeing some of the top young talent in the U.S. and working alongside the great coaches and staff the league has assembled to be there.”
Pierce, 32, was named to the coaching staff along with Lethbridge Hurricanes head coach Brent Kisio, Tri-City Americans head coach Mike Williamson and Saskatoon Blades head coach/general manager Bob Woods.
The WHL made the announcement Monday afternoon.
Pierce recently wrapped up his rookie season as WHL bench boss after spending six campaigns with the Merritt Centennials of the British Columbia Hockey League.
The camp will pit four teams of American WHL prospects in two days of head-to-head game play following one day of practice time in Anaheim. Players will also sit in on an information session to learn more about the WHL and its scholarship program, before then participating in an Under Armour Nutrition Seminar.
Jamie LeBlanc and Colin Robinson, of the Swift Current Broncos and Kamloops Blazers, respectively, will join the coaching staff to provide equipment and athletic therapy services throughout the combine camp.
All of the WHL’s 22 member clubs are expected to be in attendance in some capacity to evaluate and scout players ahead of the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, scheduled for Thursday, May 5 in Calgary.
The U.S. Combine Camp is open to U.S. residents born in the year 2001 and currently living in the western United States, including Alaska. There are currently more than 50 American-born players on WHL rosters, the majority of which previously attended U.S. Combine Camps.
Arguably the most recognizable name to come out of any WHL U.S. Combine Camp is Vancouver Canucks forward and former Medicine Hat Tiger Emerson Etem.
Ice Chips: Former Kootenay Ice captain Sam Reinhart will represent Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Hockey Championships in Moscow, Russia, beginning May 6. Reinhart, 20, recently completed his first full NHL campaign with the Buffalo Sabres, tallying 23 goals and 42 points in 79 games.