Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Camp Recap.

While the Yorkton Terriers and La Ronge Ice Wolves duke it out for SJHL supremacy, the Battlefords North Stars are hard at work making preparations for next season.

This weekend the Stars held their annual spring camp, where handfuls of North Star hopefuls tried to strut their stuff in front of the coaching staff and fans.

The camp wrapped up Sunday with Green defeating White 7-6 in regulation time.

I spoke with coach Ken Pearson after camp ended. Here is a transcript of our conversation.

DO: Overall are you and the rest of the staff impressed with what you saw?

KP: Throughout the weekend it got better. Sunday here was the best day. Saturday we did some skill stuff, and today we cut teams down, went with two, and saw some kids compete hard. We'd have to say it was a success. We're certainly going to have some kids from this camp that will be invited back in the fall.

DO: Let's start up front. Obviously one of the main areas that this team is going to address is adding some more grit. Did you enough of that out there that you feel you have a solid enough foundation?

KP: There were a couple of guys we liked, with the energy that they played with. For the most part I think that there was a guy or two here this weekend that will bring that ingredient to our forward group come fall.

DO: Defensively are you happy with what you saw?

KP: There were a couple of kids from out of province that we are pretty happy with. Some Alberta kids brought some good mobility and physicality. That's something that we are really going to try and improve on, especially on the back end. We want to make it tougher to play in front of our own end. Most importantly we want a good stay-at-home guy or two that's tough to play against. There are a couple of guys here that I thought had a good weekend with that.

DO: In goal did you see any promise from these kids. Someone who may challenge (Graham Hildebrand) next year?

KP: Two of the three are probably going to need another year of AAA, but lots can change between now and then. We liked what we've seen from the three goaltenders. They competed hard, and were given lots of ice-time and opportunity to see some pucks. Certainly we have to make some decisions on which guys we'll bring back to our fall camp.

DO: Is there anybody you want to single out for their strong efforts this week:

KP: Not at this point. I think we had some guys that had some good games, and it was kind of a different group of guys every night and every game. It wasn't one guy who stood out every game. You can't find out guy and say 'he was the best every time.' It's kind of nice, but at the same time you would like to see the guys play with a little more consistency. But that's going to happen with these guys. They're all
rookies, all competing for a chance to come back to camp in the fall. They're going to find out over the next day or two what they need to improve on in order to come back and compete for a job in the fall.

Keep in mind, I wasn't there for the entire weekend, but a few players certainly stood out for me.

Up front, Colby Cave was one of the stand-outs. Cave has all of the tools to be a go-to guy in the SJHL He can skate, he can shoot, and he has strong drive and hustle. Keep in mind that Cave is property of the Swift Current Broncos, and will likely be given every opportunity to crack that squad as a 17-year-old next season.

I really liked the hustle of forward Jaimen Yakubowski. The 16-year-old was the captain of the Beardys Blackhawks last season, and brought a lot of physicality and grit to the table. I know that he impressed the coaching staff, and also some of the players who were in attendance as well. Boyd Wakelin even joked that Yakubowski could be the left-winger next year with him and Robbie Newton. Yakubowski is property of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and I imagine that he will be strongly considered for a spot on next year's team.

Another forward that I was impressed with was Jared Samborski. Samborski never quits. He certainly brings that 'sand-paper' element to the table, and could be given a strong look come the fall assuming he's invited to training-camp.

Defensively there were two that I really liked. One was Dillon Forbes. Forbes played last season with the North Stars during the playoffs, and was solid. With a little more seasoning and strength, there is no doubt in my mind that Forbes could be a mainstay on any blue-line for the next three years. Here's hoping it's in the Battlefords.

Another player that caught my eye was defenceman John Larre. Larre played Midget AA last year, and also played some Senior hockey in St. Walburg. Larre moves the puck really well, and has a really hard shot from the point.

Coach Pearson is now going to be taking a little bit of time off to recharge the batteries before hitting the ground hard for recruiting purposes soon.


Anonymous said...

Larre looked real good.. He could be a real suprise.. Another guy I thought looked real good was the kid with the red helmet.. I forget his name now, but he reminded me of a Lebreton... I counted twice in the last game when he went coast to coast up the ice and nearly scored on one of the chances..I thought he was one of the better defencemen.. I also thought #8 in white was good.. Just what I thought..

Anonymous said...

#6 white looked solid on the backend as well as #1 black in goal. he made some good saves.

Anonymous said...

forgot to mention I also noticed 5 black... He seemed to move the puck well..

Anonymous said...

No time to recharge. Most teams have already hit the ground hard.

Anonymous said...

The recruiting is done, players have verbally agreed to play here, now its waiting to sign kids, thats what was meant anon 4, I talked to Ken yesterday.