Nitros gear up for summer camp

Roughly 60 skaters will hit the ice in an effort to impress new head coach Jerry Bancks.

Dynamiter hopefuls and returnees will be hitting the ice this weekend at Western Financial Place for a summer identification camp, as 60 skaters will look to impress new head coach Jerry Bancks.

Not that he’s unfamiliar with most of his skaters.

“I’ve got quite a few kids from my school program that are going to be trying out this year and some that were with me last year, some of the returning players,” said Bancks.

“A lot of the local kids you just know, watch them grow up and they’ve been in my hockey school so I know quite a few of them and it’ll be nice to see how hard they worked this summer.”

While Bancks coaches the Nitros by night, he is a teacher by day at Selkirk Secondary and is the head instructor at the Kimberley Alpine Hockey School.

He has worked with a number of kids that have moved on to a higher level, including Drayson Bowman (Carolina Hurricanes), Jayce Coyle (Texas Stars, AHL) and, of course, his own son, Carter, who has spent the last three years playing in the AHL with the Abbotsford Heat.

Though he knows a lot of the names on the 60-man roster, each one will have to prove they deserve an invite to Kimberley’s main camp at the end of August.

“We’re going to be looking for kids who we think have a definite potential to play,” said Bancks. “We’ll invite those that impress us this weekend for our main camp, which will be a smaller camp—we’d like to get close to our numbers right off the get-go, so if they show well here, it probably bodes well for them for the season.”

The camp features a few names who will likely be attending camps at a higher level when the main camp rolls around in a few weeks.

Dallin Wolf got in a few exhibition games with the Tri-City Americans in the WHL last September, and Jared Marchi had a good showing with the Brooks Bandits of the AJHL as well.

“A lot of the kids that are coming back will go off to other camps,” said Bancks, “and if things don’t work out, they’ll be back.

“…They all want to go play at a higher level, which is what we’re going to be all about, is trying to get them to a higher level, so if they go now, that’s good.”

The camp’s skaters have been split into three teams, with individual team practices on Friday evening. Saturday and Sunday will feature intrasquad games with Bancks watching from above to assess the talent pool.

A full schedule and team rosters can be found on the team website at www.kimberleydynamiters.net.