The Kimberley Dynamiters have signed 17-year-old local Kasey Miller to the team as a defenceman.
Head coach Derek Stuart said the organization tries to identify guys and get them through the affiliation process while they’re still playing U18 hockey, whether here or in Trail, and sign them the following year in early June if they have worked hard and deserve it — and Stuart said Miller definitely does.
“He’s worked hard and deserves to be committed to this early,” Stuart said. “He’s a great young man, he’s only 17 and entering grade 12, so he’s got a lot of potential. I think for him, how he’s going to help our team is just physical play and his smart defensive play, while at the same time working on his weaknesses throughout the season.”
The signing process has been quite a bit different this year, due to the COVID-19 situation, resulting in a lot of waiting and playing things by ear, but Stuart said the team has been told to go ahead and plan to start on time, with their main camp happening August 28-30.
“We have our league AGM coming up this Saturday so perhaps there’s some more new info on that but I don’t know anything that isn’t public knowledge with regards to when we start and anything else.”
COVID has impacted how Stuart and his team go about recruiting.
“I think we’re going to have to wait for some Junior A teams to figure out if they’re doing camps or not because it seems like every kid I phone, every midget kid I recruit or talk to, seems to think they’re going to a Junior A camp in the fall and if that’s the case I’m not going to sign anyone who’s going to a Junior A camp first, that’s not a very smart move in my opinion.
“This whole COVID thing really put a wrench in everything,” he continued. “We have a lot of veterans that could come back but a lot of them are still undecided whether they want to pursue school or work or come back yet, so it is kind of tough to recruit right now.”
Many players are still figuring out what to do, and without any of them having had spring camps to attend, Stuart thinks there’s going to be lots of guys heading to Junior A camps, or camps before their own main camps start.
“I’m not going to sign any players that are going to Junior A camps, just in case they make the team and then I’ve got a guy I’ve burnt a card on and signed for no reason,” Stuart explained. “I’ve got to wait and see, at our level, the smart teams, we’ve got to wait and see what the Junior A guys are going first.”
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