The camp is at Drumheller Memorial Arena on August 21-23. Coach Dan Price says 80 skaters; four teams of 20, is a manageable size. He says it is not indicative of how many spots sill need to be filled. He says a smaller camp often only allows the coaches to look at older players.
“The beauty is that this will allow us to assess younger players. It opens the door to 16-17 year olds, and see where they are at,” said Price.
He says going into the camp, while a number of players have graduated, there is a solid core returning to the team. While he was familiar with how many of them played this summer has allowed him to get to know the players personally. He is impressed by their dedication and off-season training regime.
While many coaches enter a camp with a list of spots that need to be filled, Price’s adjudication of the players goes beyond what he sees on the ice.
“In the end I want 22 guys who are competitive, show good judgment on and off the ice, quality people, good citizens and have good habits,” he says.
After that, he is looking for on-ice skill.
A holistic approach to the players is being built on what the Dragons are calling the University of Hockey.
Price explains the organization wants to work on making the players better people through hockey. Traits such as work ethics can be developed on the ice, but serves beyond hockey. Hockey skill development is of course an important aspect the team wants to develop. Another goal of the team is to prepare its players to go to play at higher levels by replicating what it is like for players to play in the WHL, the CIS and the NCAA. They have a goal of simulating that environment for the players.
The Dragons exhibition season begins at home on Friday, August 28 against the Olds Grizzlys.
Hockey fans will get to see some of the team’s committed players as well as a bevy of prospects at the camp on August 21-23.