Cents’ first annual prep camp a big success
Over 30 players from throughout B.C., and even as far away as Whitehorse, took part in the Merritt Centennials’ first annual prep and conditioning camp held this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.
“I was very happy with how things went,” stated Joe Martin, Cents’ assistant coach and head instructor at the camp.
“We had quite a mix of experienced and non-experienced players,” Martin added. “You have to be a little bit creative when it comes to making up practice plans, and making sure that everyone is getting what they need out on the ice. It ended up working very well.”
The age of the camp participants ranged from 15-year-old Riley Barnes from Merritt (a first-year midget rep) to the Yukon’s 23-year-old Jordan Lane (a recent signing of the Orlando Solar Bears in the professional East Coast Hockey League).
“[Jordan’s] a great guy,” said Martin. “I coached him in midget up in Whitehorse. He’s played Junior B in Princeton and Junior A in Manitoba, as well as major junior in Quebec and with both Everett and Prince George. He’s definitely been around.”
Returning Centen-nials’ players were very much in evidence at the conditioning camp, too. Goaltender Tyler Steel, defencemen Richard Sabourin and Tyler Martin, along with forwards Silvan Harper, Payton Schaefer, Sean Maktaak and Regan Soquila all took part in one or more of the five on-ice sessions over the three days.
The prep camp also included two sessions of introductory yoga, led by local instructor Rosalind Duclos.
“[Rosalind] did a great job,” stated Martin. “It was very helpful. We’d love to find a way to get this year’s Cents into a structured, season-long program of restorative yoga.”
On the ice, camp participants worked on a variety of skating and puck handling drills, and also finished each session with a non-hitting scrimmage. According to Martin, the emphasis was on players working on their skills and having fun.
“The prep camp wasn’t about assessing players and being critical. We just wanted them to feel good, and feel like they’re ready when they do go to their respective tyout camps.”