Team to play exhibition tournament in Swift Current
© Katie Brickman
Donovan Neuls (white) and Eric Soar (red) fight for the puck and position in front of goaltender Colby Entz during the annual Red and White game at Moose Jaw Generals camp on Sunday afternoon at Mosaic Place. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman
This wasn’t like just like any other camp. This was holds a lot of meaning. The coaches expressed that early and the players sensed it as well as they battled for three days.
The Moose Jaw Generals held their main camp over the weekend with approximately 40 players vying for a roster spot on the host team of the 2014 Telus Cup.
“I thought it was pretty feisty. The thing I liked the most about it was the vets were feisty with each other. They weren’t going after the younger guys and the younger guys held their own. It was arguably, intensity wise and consistency, one of the best camps we’ve ever had,” stated Generals head coach Ray Wareham. “Credit to the veteran guys for pushing the pace and not having friendships out there. There was a lot of wrestling and punches in the faces. It was good and the other guys fed of that and made it interesting.”
The camp opened Friday afternoon with practices and fitness testing. The on-ice scrimmages began on Saturday morning and then the annual Team Red versus Team White game was held Sunday afternoon at Mosaic Place.
The veterans led the way in the game, but it was Team Red that got the come-from-behind 6-4 victory over Team White. Out-going captain Rhett Gardner scored a hat-trick for Team Red. Dakota Boutin had a goal and an assist. Caleb Riess and Josh Miller also added goals. Moose Jaw native Branden Klatt had two assists on the afternoon for Team Red.
On Team White, Ben Duperreault, Riley Cannon, Riley Botterill and Brett Reid found the back of the net in the loss.
“It was probably one of the most consistent camps we’ve had at main camp,” said Wareham. “Those young ‘99s age group…they held their own. (Brett) Reidy and (Brody) Magnusson showed spurts at times. I thought some guys on the back end showed some things.”
The team is now finished until early September, as a handful of players will be heading to Western Hockey League camps. The Generals could see their roster drop five veteran players due to them possibly making the next step.
“I think we will roll with 26 guys that will come back after the September long weekend and obviously we are going to have four or five guys that are gone for a while, but if we do lose some guys, we are comfortable with filling in with guys that we’ve had here,” explained Wareham. “Some of them have skated with us in the past and they had good runs last year, so we are comfortable, we hope that we get those other guys back, but if not, we have guys that we think can fill in somewhere and do the job.”
The message the Generals coaching staff sent to the players this weekend was the importance of this camp and this season. The goal is to build a team that will compete at the national level next spring.
“We stressed all weekend to them to make us make changes. That was kind of the theme and I thought for the most past, they did that,” he stated.
The players that made the team will come back to Moose Jaw on Sept. 2, with practices beginning on the 3rd. The Generals are competing in an exhibition tournament from Sept. 6-8 in Swift Current.
“We have some decisions that are going to be tough,” he said. “We don’t have to make any decisions until Sept. 28, so we have some time.”
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