Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2010 Spring Camp: Sucession Planning

With the Spring Camp now just a week away I had an opportunity to understand the importance of it to both the players and the organization from Mike Hawes, the Spruce Kings Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel. With a question and answer session, Hawes provided some insight to the team's direction and expectations of this year's camp.

Ron Gallo (RG): "After a few successful camps over the past few years, the Spruce Kings are doing it again. What do you expect from this year's camp?"

Mike Hawes (MH): "You're right Ron, the Spring Camp has been very successful for us in recent years and I anticipate this year's camp to be no different. Recently the camp has drawn as many as 135 players which have been placed into eight very strong and competitive teams. This year's numbers will be close to that again and will make for another tremendous camp. What's nice is we get an opportunity to watch some of the best young hockey players in BC and throughout North American right here in our backyard."

RG: "What can these players expect to gain from attending the Spring Camp this year?"

MH: "The goal for most players attending the camp will be to earn an invitation back to our main training camp in August and then a roster spot on the team. For some of the younger player, who are not yet eligible to play in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), it gives them an opportunity to gauge themselves against some Junior 'A' caliber player. They will get to see what they need to do to elevate their game enough to play for the Spruce Kings down the road."

RG: "Do players at this year's Spring Camp have a real chance at cracking the Spruce Kings lineup for next season?"

MH: "Every year we've had players progress from the Spring Camp to the main camp and eventually to our hockey club all in succession. Last year's camp was very successful as we had six players from the Spring Camp make it onto our roster and play the whole season. What that means is that almost one third of last year's team was made up of players who started the process by attending the Spring Camp. That's what makes the Camp such a great endeavour to undertake, despite the long hours and hard work it takes to put it on. What makes this year's Camp even more appealing to players is the fact that we did not enjoy the type of on ice success last season that we had hoped for. This means that there will be a lot of on ice changes which opens up a lot of spots for players hoping to make our team and play in the best Junior 'A' league in Canada."

RG: "What format will the Camp follow this year? Will there be any changes from past years?"

MH: "There will be one significant change to this year's Spring Camp, we will be selecting the top 42 players during the Camp to participate in a Top Prospects Game on the afternoon of Day 3. Every player will register on the morning of Day 1 where they will receive their team assignment and schedule. Each team will practice that afternoon and then play a game that evening. Day 2 will feature two games for each team, each team will also play a game on the morning of Day 3 and the camp will conclude with the Top Prospects Game. every player is guaranteed one practice and four games with those players selected as a top prospect playing in a fifth game. The response from player and parents over the past few years has been tremendous in regards to the amount of ice time that each player receives at the Camp."

RG: "Is the Camp open to the public?"

MH: "Yes, the Camp is open to the public and our fans are encouraged to come down and see the future of the organization. There is no charge to take in the Camp and with all the parents and families of the players in attendance combined with our fans it will make for a great atmosphere, as always, at the Coliseum. The Camp gives our faithful fans an opportunity to see some great hockey in a great rink before summer is upon us."

RG: "Thanks Mike and good luck at this year's camp."

MH: "Thank you Ron."

Looking at the list of players registered for the Spruce Kings Spring Camp, I can tell you that all goaltender spots have been filled but there are still a few holes open for a couple of forwards and defencemen. Last minute registrations can be accepted but the sooner the better obviously ... CLICK HERE for more information, a map to the rink and to download a registration form.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Inside the 2010 Spring Camp

Checking in on the goings on in the office you will find that things are a lot busier than might be expected. The biggest item coming up is the annual Spring Camp where a long list of players that have been identified by the scouting staff throughout the season are given an invite to come and show off their skills in the Coliseum. The Spring Camp this year will run from Friday April 9 - Sunday April 11 with over one hundred players expected to be on the ice.

Some of the players that will be coming are familiar names from previous seasons and there are also a few others that have been to previous spring and main camps. It is safe to say; however, that a majority of the players coming in for the weekend will be new to those who follow the team.

Based on itineraries from previous camps, players will start arriving at the Coliseum before noon on Friday to check in and receive their team assignments for the weekend. The early afternoon will be reserved for an on-ice introduction to the Spruce Kings coaching staff and basic practice plans. Scrimmages will begin later that evening and continue through Saturday and Sunday.

As more details are made available, I will be putting them on here including a final schedule of practices and scrimmages/games. For those interested in checking out the camp a little closer, the Coliseum will be open for the curious and the die-hard. If you can't make it down to the rink, I will be coaching one team and blogging before and after the games I am on the bench for.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Phantom Fan of the Game Contest

If you are looking for information as to where and when the conclusion of the Phantom Fan of the Game Contest will happen ... look no further.

Throughout the season, all fans coming in to the Coliseum for a Spruce Kings game were given an entry form to have their name drawn as one of the ten names from every game to be added to the list of potential winners. With thirty home games, the list has reached its number of 300 contestants ... all of which will be given a key to try and start a vehicle from the Doug Neal Motors dealership.

One of the 300 keys will start a vehicle, still to be determined which vehicle it will be but I have been assured it will be a pickup truck. The contest will reach its conclusion starting at 11am on Saturday March 13, 2010 from the dealership on Queensway Street in Prince George.