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Last updateFri, 03 Apr 2020 4pm

Dragons host successful spring camp

Dragons camp

    Some of the top hockey prospects in Alberta were at the Drumheller Memorial Arena last weekend to be seen at the Drumheller Dragons Spring camp.
     Coach and general manager Brian Curran said about 144 players came out for the camp from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.  All received ample ice time, and all were top quality players.
    “It was a very successful weekend,” said Curran.
    While the Dragons are not able to secure players until June 1, he said they invited players they have had on the radar for sometime. As the camp progressed, they winnowed their numbers down to 40 playing in the prospects game and 40 to play in the future game.  
    “Futures are obviously for the future, but prospects are for now,” said Curran.
    He explains they have strong interest in about four players from the Futures group that could suit up for the Dragons in a couple of seasons. The prospects also had a strong group with about 8-10 players they have interest in pursuing. He understands many will be heading out to camps for other teams and leagues.
    “There are some great coaches and some bad coaches in all the leagues. For me if a kid is going to play some other place because of the views, then I wouldn’t want the kid anyway. Every place has its positives. I always say if I had a son coming into this, and I felt comfortable with the coach and staff, Drumheller is the ideal place: this is where you want your boy to play, it makes it conducive for a players.”
    He says the Dragons are focusing on a younger team next season, aimed at giving the players the best opportunities possible.
  “We are going younger next year because we feel we can start showing the NCAA schools that we are going to have 16 and 18 year olds on our team and they are good players. These kids will have a great opportunity, and as soon as we have the team picked we are going to flood the NCAA with all the potential players,” said Curran.
    He credits the scouts for putting together a top quality group for the camp.
    “We changed our whole scouting staff after Christmas and our scouts have done a phenomenal job. People don’t know these guys aren’t paid and they travel throughout the north and Red Deer and Calgary. And they did a terrific job of bringing some of the best players from the AAA programs and 15’s programs.”
    The Dragons have another spring camp coming up in Fort Saskatchewan on April 22-24.


Levi Wunder named to AJHL South Division All Rookie team

wunder

    Drumheller Dragons forward Levi Wunder has been selected to the AJHL South Division All Rookie team.
    The announcement was made on Tuesday, March 29.
    19-year-old Wunder led the team in goals with 26 goals and was second in assists. He  led the team in over all points with 53. He received the Dragons Top Scorer Award and Dragons Rookie of the Year.
    Wunder from Escanaba, Michigan has played one season with the Dragons and is eligible to return next year. He is committed to the NCAA Division I University of Alabama Huntsville.
    The selections for the All Rookie team is determined through voting by AJHL general managers and coaches.

Coach Curran looking forward to rebuilding process

Curran Brian

    As soon as the season ends, so begins the preparations for the puck to drop come next fall.
    The Dragons wrapped up the season after being bumped out of the first round. Already their first spring training camp is coming up April 1-3 at Drumheller Memorial Arena. Coach and general manger Brian Curran is reflective on last season.
    “In a nutshell we went in a little different direction this year in so far as recruiting and went away from my norm of “get down, work hard, outwork teams, and having my roll players,” said Curran. “As the coach, the buck stops with me. I have analyzed it and we did not recruit as well as we thought we did.”
    “I am not saying that our players were bad, it was just the chemistry and the mixture wasn’t a team I was used to having. It was somewhat of an experiment, and we had extremely high hopes, but it didn’t work.”
    It was an eye-opening season for Curran.
    “Hands down this was the biggest learning year I have had since I have been a coach and those mistakes won’t be made again,” he said.
     He says they will have a much different hockey team on the ice next year and that starts with getting back to basics.
    “We have to make some changes, there is no question of that, getting back to the grassroots of who I am. I like the offensive guys. My scouting staff are all new now and we are going to be looking at those guys who compete hard, switch up in areas and work hard.”
    During the off-season, the Dragons will be hosting this upcoming camp April 1-3 in Drumheller and a second in Fort Saskatchewan on April 22-24.
    “We are going to have to look at a lot of kids because we have to fill a lot of spots with the right players,” he said.
    Coach Curran is looking forward to the building process and plans to hold on to some assets, but reshape the team.
    “What I am really looking forward to is that I am going to go against my own grain here,” he said.  “Because I love to teach, I am going to put a younger team on the ice, but a team that is going to be competitive because they are going to work harder. We will bring back several of the players from last year who I feel are going to be the right players to be around the team I am going to build.”
    “They have to have an extremely strong character, the right person on and off the ice, good at team unity,” he said, adding he wants to build a team with a reputation of working hard.
    “I’ve had teams where people say ‘when you play the Drumheller Dragons you are in for a battle every time.’ I didn’t hear that all that much this season, and that is what my teams have always been since I began to coach.”
    He is looking forward to building on a blank slate.
    “This is the first time in my career that I am really going to be building a team from the ground up.”


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