A new crop of potential Nelson Junior Leafs spent the weekend at a hockey camp where coaches were able to see who they might be interested for next season.
“We’re just looking for hard working, skilled players that will fit into our program,” said Leafs returning head coach Frank Maida.
“We’re a skating team and we’re going to continue to be a skating team so that’s what we’re focusing on.”
While this camp is a part of the recruiting process, it won’t be clear what the junior B team will look like until the fall.
“The dynamic with junior B is that you’re always getting returning players from the year before, but you have to wait until junior A camps are over because we’re wanting to develop and advance players every year,” said assistant coach Stu Linnen.
“We don’t know until basically the beginning of September when the junior A teams finalize their roster.”
“At this point we could have all 19 back, but I’m suspecting there will be quite a few making junior A teams, so I’m not really sure how many spots we’ll need to fill,” said Maida.
Despite any concrete idea of what the Leafs will look like for next season, the coaches say they’re very pleased at this point.
“The camp is going great, we have a lot of 16-year-old players that are coming out for the experience to see what the level of hockey that the Leafs as an organization wants to achieve,” said Linnen.
“It gives them the ability to be prepares for a season of midget hockey or if they can make the team as a 16-year-old.”
Maida said the camp has been very competitive and they’ve been seeing some skilled young players.
“There’s quite a few players out here that have caught our eye. There’s some locals and there’s some out-of-towners that have been surprises too,” he said.
Linnen said he’s very happy with the turnout at the camp and the skill level of the players.
“We are just really excited for the new season, and this is where it starts.”