The Kimberley Dynamiters held their main camp this past weekend, Sept. 18 to 20, ahead of the beginning of regular season set to begin Oct. 2.
“It was actually pretty good,” head coach, general manager Derek Stuart said. “It was a much different look and feel just because of all the rules and guidelines and restrictions due to COVID, but it actually went pretty smooth.”
Stuart was impressed with the players abiding by the rules and guidelines required for their return to play, and said he was grateful to be working with Brett Clarke and the City of Kimberley, who made it very clear what those rules were inside the facility.
He added that he noticed his veteran players stepping up and taking charge, making sure that guys were wearing masks when they entered the rink and social distancing as much as possible.
Stuart had four Nitros veterans at camp, and then they made a trade for a goaltender who joined them late in the camp, making a total of five veterans coming out of it. There was around 35 players there in total.
How many spots they have available for the team is difficult to say at this point.
“That’s the difficult part with the COVID is for some reason the Junior As are allowed to keep up to 30 players until Dec., 1 so it’s going to be a little longer getting guys back,” Stuart explained.
“We have six or seven veterans at Junior A camps right now, as well as the Midget recruits that are coming here if they don’t make it. So when the come here or if they come here I think it’s going to be a little longer than in a normal year.”
Stuart was very happy with the performance of the signed rookies.
“They are all looking like not only can they play in our league but I think they can all contribute and be a big part of our team,” he said. “So you add those five or six guys in with the five veterans and all of a sudden we only need 10 to 12 more guys by December 10 or January 10. So I think right now we have a pretty good idea and there’s also some guys at camp that are battling as well for those open spots and might take those themselves.”
He also liked the speed he witnessed over the camp and said the team’s going be really fast.
“The skill is there and there’s a lot of skill that’s still at Junior A but I really like the speed. There wasn’t too many guys that couldn’t keep up to the pace.”
Additionally, Stuart was very impressed with the young locals who turned up, some of whom have the potential to be added to the roster.
“We had some 15 year olds out there to kind of introduce them to camp and they were real good,” he said. “They kept up, and the 16 year olds, we still have I believe four of them, so the young local kids did an excellent job of showing they’re either real close or some of them might even make the team.”
What’s the next step for the Dynamiters as they move towards the season? A lot of practice, Stuart said.
“We’re going to take advantage of this time right now to also get into the gym and try and put muscle on instead of just maintaining it right now. So we’ll be doing that and have some practises and we’re hoping to set up sort of an exhibition season with Columbia Valley and Fernie over the last few weekends of October so hopefully that can get put together and the guys can get playing some games instead of just practising.”
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