It was family time at the rink as the Bancks’ watched the Nitros from above, with head coach Jerry Bancks and his son, Carter assessing the talent during training camp this weekend in Kimberley.
Roughly 40 skaters recruited by general manager Rick Allen, including returning veterans, hit the ice for a chance to impress a new coaching staff through practices and scrimmages at the Civic Centre.
“I’m very impressed with what we’ve got here, lots of character kids that are working hard,” said Bancks. “A lot of local kids are showing really well and there’s been some nice surprises. I think Rick [Allen] has done a good job of bringing in some kids from Alberta and up north, way up north in the Yukon, so it’s nice.
“It seems like a really nice group of kids, which is really important.”
Divided up into two teams, the coaching staff ran three practices for each group and watched three intrasquad games over the three-day camp.
While scrimmages are always a good way of seeing how players react in certain situations, the practices shouldn’t be taken lightly, said Bancks.
“You’ll learn a lot about a player in a practice and if you’re going to play for me—they’ve got to be a good practice player,” said Bancks. “We’re all here trying to get better and we all want to get better everyday and that comes through practice so it’s good to have that mix of game-practice-game-practice, and with a small camp, I guarantee at the end of this weekend, we’ll be able to give them a good exit meeting and tell them exactly why they’re here, why they’re not here, and what they need to work on.”
Tyson Klingspohn, a 17-year-old returning veteran, is hoping to remain on the scoresheet this season, potting 14 goals and 10 assists in his rookie year with the club last year.
Having a year under his belt makes his training camp experience more comfortable.
“Even coming back to the spring camp, it was way more comfortable that the first year here,” Klingspohn said.
He recently made an early exit from a Jr. A tryout with the Vernon Vipers, which is hosting the RBC Cup this year, but was encouraged by the fact that the team was to AP him.
“It gives you a little confidence for when you come back [here],” Klingspohn added.
There were four goaltenders at camp, but returning 19-year-old Jeremy Mousseau isn’t going to let go of his starting role lightly.
“Mousseau’s done a great job,” said Bancks. “The other kids are pushing him, but Mousseau’s right now, he’s the guy.”
Exhibition season starts right away, as the Nitros take on the Columbia Valley Rockies on Wednesday at the Civic Centre, and Bancks wants to bring down the roster to roughly 30 players by then.
“A lot of these kids deserve a chance to play some exhibition games, it’s different when you play against strangers, so we’re talking about maybe keeping 30, if their willing, too,” said Bancks. “Some of the kids from Alberta may want to get back or go to another team and try out or whatever, but we’d like to keep 30 and give lots of kids a shot in exhibition games.”
The Dynamiters head up to Invermere for a rematch on Saturday evening to close out the preseason.