The Squamish Wolfpack is hard at work preparing for the 2009-2010 season, holding two prospect camps in the coming weeks. The first camp took place from June 5 to 7 at the Burnaby 8 Rinks, with the second camp at Littleton, Colorado from June 12 to 14.
Coach and manager Matt Samson says the first camp was a success with 60 skaters and 12 goalies taking part and he's already given cards to four forwards and two defencemen.
Whistler's Nelson Hurd was one of the defencemen selected, as well as one of two 16-year-olds in the team's quota for the season. Hurd has been enrolled in the In Pursuit of Excellence hockey academy in Kelowna the past year, and while he's on the small side for the position he made an impact at the camp.
"When he played in Whistler he played both forward and defence, and he's a really good skater and through a couple of big hits," said Samson. "We really liked him and decided to offer him a card."
Samson has already scouted a few American players that he will be watching closely at the Colorado camp. "We ended up getting five kids from that camp last year, and for the most part it worked out," he said. "There's definitely some skating talent in Colorado."
This is the Wolf Pack's second year in the league, but their first full season when you include camps and recruiting. Samson says that's already made a huge difference for his roster.
"Just having a year under our belt we're seeing better camps, it's night and day," he said. "There is also a lot of talent in the corridor that wants to play close to home. We have a few kids from Hollyburn, which was the Tier 1 provincial midget champion, and a few kids from North Shore Winter Club, which had a top midget team, and there are a few players from major midget as well. It's not that the players are better quality, but they're from winning programs and we're getting the right mix."
Several players will also be returning from last season, including Whistler's Josh Schaubroeck. Hunter Nelson of Squamish, Taj Brown, and Dustin Urdea. Whistler's Jesse Clemiss is also eligible to return if he chooses.
The Squamish Wolf Pack plays in the Pacific International Junior Hockey League, one of three Junior B leagues in the province. The Wolf Park placed last in their division last year, despite having a winning record against teams in the second PIJHL division. They also found themselves in the same division as the top-three teams in the league, and the provincial champion Richmond Sockeyes.
The team's home arena is Brennan Park in Squamish, although they played three home games in Whistler this year to build corridor support.
Samson is hoping to have a few team skates before their selection camp at the end of August. Games start the second week of September.