The event was the first for new head coach Trevor Weisgerber – who took over from longtime bench boss Ray Wareham in mid-March (see related story) – and his coaching and management staff, with early reports indicating things went exceptionally well.
“It was really good,” Weisgerber said prior to final meetings with players on Sunday afternoon. “Obviously it was a long weekend seeing a lot of players and it makes it tough with some kids since you only get to see them a few times. Sometimes it would be nice to see them more, but the kids we’re interested in we’ve talked to and we’ve talked to some scouts as well and know how they did this previous year.
“I think we’ve made a pretty good judgement on these kids and I think it’s going to be alright.”
The main problem Weisgerber has at the moment is a good one for any hockey team – too many solid players and plenty of camp depth made the cut-down process that much more difficult, especially on defence.
“We were quite surprised at how many quality d-men we had here,” Weisgerber said. “There were a good eight to 10 kids who could play in the league this year who were here and could step in and play very well. It made for some tough decisions, but that’s how it goes.”
Heading into camp, the Generals were looking for a higher level of competitiveness and intensity compared to what one would see in a regular spring camp. And while things weren’t perfect at the start, once the realization of what was at stake set in, the later scrimmages saw a change for the positive.
“It got better as it went on, for sure,” Weisgerber said. “The first couple (scrimmages) were alright, but as it went on we just wanted to re-iterate that there were a lot of spots here to be had and that these guys needed to play so we could see what they had to offer.”
Players came from all corners of the province, including a large selection from close to home in the form of Prairie Hockey Academy standouts from the Canadian Sport School Hockey League Elite 15 program.
“There were quite a few and for the most part they had a pretty good camp… they played in a pretty competitive league with the Elite 15s, that a really good league,” Weisgerber said. “And then there are some returning guys and older guys who have played at pretty high levels as well, so I think we’ll have a good mix of players.
“For those new guys coming in, it’s going to be a change for any younger guy, they’re going to have to step right in and produce because that’s what this league is and hopefully that’s what they’re able to do.”
The next step is to finalize the initial roster under the new regime – a process that needs to be completed this early so players and their families can plan through the summer and register in school for the coming campaign.
“We’re hoping to have six or seven forwards and four or five d-men picked and a goalie, then in fall we’ll be looking to fill in those last few spots and go from there,” Weisgerber said.