Blazers set to open camp at ISC
Hockey season is just around the corner and Interior Savings Centre (ISC) will be a bustling place this weekend when the Kamloops Blazers host training camp.
With roster positions on the line at rookie and main camps, players will be fighting for their hockey lives — and that includes some of the Blazers’ returnees.
“Nothing is guaranteed,” club GM Craig Bonner told KTW.
“The players are going to learn pretty quick here, quite early in camp, that things are changing and things are going to be harder.”
Rookie camp, for 1995- and 1996-born players, gets underway at 9 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 26.
All the rookies in attendance — there are about 70 of them — have been divided into four teams.
Each team will practise for one hour between 9 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. on Friday.
The main camp sessions on Friday run from 2:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.
All returning players will take the ice at main camp, as will two free agents — centre Bryan Owen and defenceman Braden Pears — who were not with the team last season.
At 5:30 p.m, the first of two rookie games gets underway.
Puck drop for the second of Friday’s rookie games is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Most of the rookies in attendance know their chances of cracking the Blazers’ lineup this season are slim, but there is still a lot for which to play.
Watching from the stands will be Bonner and all of the Blazers’ scouts, who will be monitoring player progression and getting an idea of who might crack the lineup in future years.
Many of the rookies at camp are selections from the 2010 and 2011 WHL bantam drafts.
They are on Kamloops’ 50-man protected list and cannot be pilfered by other WHL teams.
The free-agent rookies at camp would like to be on that list, too.
That goal can be achieved by outperforming a listed player in training sessions and games.
There are four rookie games, starting at 9 a.m., noon, 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively, on Saturday, Aug. 27.
Rookie camp ends after Saturday’s last game.
Bonner and the scouts will meet and discuss what they liked and didn’t like from the players at rookie camp.
Matt Recchi, the Blazers’ director of player personnel, is the man in charge of informing the players of their fate.
Main camp runs through Tuesday, Aug. 30, at ISC.
A Blue versus White game, scheduled for 7 p.m. at ISC on Tuesday, will mark the end of main camp.
There is no cost for fans who want to watch the training-camp sessions at ISC.
Tickets for the intrasquad Blue versus White game are $5.