In spite of it being cut short when Monday’s planned intrasquad game was cancelled due to a power outage, the Yorkton Junior Terriers had a good camp, said Terrier head coach Trent Cassan.
“It was real good. I was pretty pleased with the quality of play,” he said. “The compete level of the guys was good.”
The Terriers have a good contingent of veterans returning, and Cassan said in spite of a short summer following a long playoff run, they looked ready for another season.
“A few guys didn’t skate,” said Cassan, adding they are still recovering from playoff injuries, or off season surgeries, Kailum Gervais, Josh Ellis and Kale Thomson among them.
Otherwise the vets looked good.
“The veterans that were in camp showed good leadership,” said the Terrier coach. “They showed they are veterans. It’s what we expected out of them.”
One position the Terriers are keeping a particularly close eye on is in goal, where Dawson McAuley is on a Western Hockey League try-out in Regina, and Thomson is still on the mend.
Cassan said day one he saw some nerves in net, but added “it was a really good second day.”
That said Cassan said he had been looking forward to an intrasquad game to see how the new faces fares.
“It takes away one of your evaluation days,” he said, adding it made cut down choices a bit tougher Monday. “… There were a few guys we wanted to give another chance too. They were kind of on the bubble.”
But decisions were made, and the Terriers head to the pre-season with about 32 players still in camp, including the recovering Terriers.
Cassan said the six-game exhibition season will be a time of continued evaluation, including in net.
“Right now we have three (goaltenders), not including Kale.” The group includes Yorkton AAA Midget Harvest netminder Carson Bogdan.
Up front the Terriers graduated their top three scorers, Jeremy Johnson, Patrick Martens and Nathan Murray, and with Tayler Thompson attending Portland’s WHL camp, the team will need to find some new sources of offence.
“We’re happy with the skill level of some of the young guys,” said Cassan.
The Terriers are also looking to balance age groups on the team, since they have nine 20-year-olds eligible to return, and the SJHL allows for only eight.
“You want to ice the best team,” said Cassan, adding at the same time ideally you want “a balance in age groups.”
So with only three 1994-born vets, there is room to add a couple of 19-year-olds.
And Gervais is the only 1995-born Terrier back, “so there’s a few spots of 1995 players for us,” offered Cassan.
The Terriers exhibition schedule includes hosting Swan River of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Friday, Melville Tuesday, Sept. 10, and Waywayseecappo , also of the MJHL, Wednesday.