It’s a small sample of the hard work that will be expected of the players through the season and at the same time offers the team a chance to measure the improvement their young charges are showing from year to year.
Far from the old days of simple push-ups, pull-ups and the shuttle run testing one’s strength and agility, today’s fitness testing a wonder of polymetric movements and endurance activities that most certainly put the players through their paces – ranging from standing long lump to straight sprints, from the hanging core and grip test to the beep test, all is watched and recorded with the goal of improvement each time around.
“Fitness testing is really important because through development and training camp you have players come through your system for one, two maybe three years and we’re able to track them and their development and how they’re progressing,’ said Warriors general manager Alan Millar. “So this is an important start and it sets the tone in what the expectations are and the standards are to play here.”
Players over the years have put together impressive improvements in their time with the team and as part of the Warriors’ program, with those results often first showing in the annual round of testing at Yara Centre.
“A lot of these kids were here for development camp and for training camp a year ago, so we know their results over the last year or two and we expect them to take steps and we expect them to work hard in the off season to prepare to have a chance to play in the WHL,” Millar said. “So we look at those stats closely, we monitor those things and there are a lot of tests that tell you about their physicality, their athleticism and their compete level and their heart and drive to go a little bit harder.”
That’s especially important in a season where the team will be looking for their young up-and-coming talent to take advantage of openings left by some of the wildly skilled players who have moved on in recent years.
“I think every camp is competitive and this will be the same,” Millar said. “We have lots of guys who are coming in with a goal to make the club and young guys who want to get listed and sign a WHL player agreement and get into our program.
“So I think there are opportunities for the young guys to step in, we think we’re going to be a little bit of a younger team than we have been the last few years. So we’ll be competitive right through camp and pre-season and right through as we get ready for the regular season.”
Focus now turns to rookie camp, with the three rookie camp teams running through practices throughout the day Thursday. Rookie scrimmages begin Friday at 9 a.m. and continue at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., after which players will be reassigned to main camp teams or returned to their respective club teams.
Main camp begins Saturday with scrimmages at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., followed by a scrimmage at 10 a.m. Sunday and the annual Black and White Intrasquad game at 4 p.m.
All practices and scrimmages are open to the public.