The future of the Moose Jaw Warriors will be on the ice out in Caronport this weekend as the team hosts their annual Prospects Camps. The tribe will be welcoming in about 30 players, including the ten players drafted in last month’s WHL Bantam Draft, for a three-day crash course on everything about the club.
The weekend includes fitness testing and on-ice sessions for the players and then orientation on player training, strengthen and conditioning, academics at Vanier Collegiate and the Warriors’ billet program for their parents.
“We feel that this weekend is real important in terms of those families getting to know the organization, getting to see our facilities and a real orientation on how we handle things on and off the ice,” said Alan Millar, Warriors general manager. “We cover all the things that are vital for players making the commitment to play in the WHL and here in Moose Jaw.”
It all starts with a reception on Thursday night that allows the players and parents to meet the Warriors coaches and management and during this reception, the 2013 Bantam Draft Class will be introduced. “We do the on stage like the NHL with the jersey and the hat and the pictures,” said Millar. “I think it’s a special moment and any young player that’s drafted into the Western Hockey League.”
The Warriors Prospect Camp has grown over the past few years and Millar feels that it’s an important part of their process in developing players.
“It’s crucial,” he said. “The more experience that young players can get, whether it’s at this prospects camp or as you’ve seen over this past year, the players that spend time around our team, it’s a crucial part of their development and understanding the expectations of what it takes to play in the WHL and what our standards are in Moose Jaw to be a Warrior.”
It’s a busy weekend for the players, they will have full schedules on Friday and Saturday, including fitness testing on Friday morning and three on-ice sessions over the two days. The players practice on Friday afternoon at 3:00pm out in Caronport and then scrimmage on Saturday at 10:00am and 3:00pm. The hockey aspect is only a small portion of the weekend however as the players will do some team bonding exercises and just become accustom to the team and what they can expect as Moose Jaw Warriors.
“We don’t want the hockey evaluation to be the centre point or the most crucial point of the weekend, sometimes the players will take it like that and they want to do well, but we really want it to be an experience and orientation,” said Millar. “We want to get to know the players and the families, and the players and families getting to know our hockey club.”
With the players coming in ranging from ages 14 to 17, some will be looking to make that first impression on the Warriors’ brass, while other will be hoping to refresh their memory. “It’s the first look for our coaching staff to see the young guys, especially the ones that we just drafted,” said Millar.
So while the weekend will be exciting for the players, it can also be an exciting glimpse into the future for the organization.
“This is probably as fun of a time for our scouting staff, for Robert Maclachlan, we’re going to have our assistant head scout Doug Gasper in, our Saskatchewan scout Mark Penny will be here and Bob Bartlett, who looks after some of Alberta and is key in the US for us, so I think for those guys to see how their draft picks in the last couple years have developed is an exciting time,” stated Millar.
All the on-ice sessions throughout the weekend are open to the public and will be held at the Barkman Arena in Caronport. Click here to the roster of players that will be taking part.