Posted on 15 August 2012 by Mathew White
With the thermometer sitting around 30 degrees Celsius for the past week, it’s hard to imagine strapping on a pair of skates and hitting the ice, but that’s exactly what dozens of local junior hockey players will be doing as the Coyotes prepare for their main summer camp before the regular season begins next month.
“(Fans can look forward to) a good value for their dollar and fast, exciting hockey this season,” said Randy Bedard, owner of the Coyotes franchise.
This year’s hopefuls were originally supposed to head to a remote camp in Hope, B.C., this weekend, but Bedard said that particular camp had to be cancelled due to a lack of players.
“It was a combination of things,” he said. “Not getting the numbers we wanted and also it just turned out to be a little inconvenient.”
Instead, the boys will be taking part in the main summer camp at the Sun Bowl Arena from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2.
Heading up the camp again this year will be Ken Law, who has signed on with the Coyotes as the head coach for another two seasons, something Bedard couldn’t be happier about.
“Ken’s proven himself to be one of the premier coaches in the league,” said Bedard. “He’s a two-time KIJHL coach of the year – with us a couple years ago and previously in Summerland. He’s a very good recruiter. He’s a players’ coach and just a personable individual. He’s really proven himself to be a valuable individual.”
Law said he too is excited about returning to the Coyotes for another two years.
“It’s good,” he said. “It’s always nice knowing that you’re going to be around for a couple years so you can start working with guys coming in. It’s a great community and I really don’t want to leave. It’s a good fit for me and there’s really good support of this team from the town itself.”
Law said he’s expecting about 60 players to show up for this year’s summer camp. While he’s not quite sure exactly how many spots they have to fill, he does expect to see four of five familiar faces on the bench this year.
During the camp, the players will be split into three teams and will spend their time going through various practice and skill-training sessions. The camp will also feature two exhibition games against the North Vancouver Wolf Pack Saturday evening at 7 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., which fans are more than welcome to attend.
After last year’s disappointing finish in the first round of the playoffs, Law said this year there’s going to be an emphasis on making the guys aware of how quick momentum can change in this game.
“Momentum swings are so important,” he said.
“We have to learn to control ourselves so we’re going to work on that from the beginning of the season.”
Bedard echoed Law’s disappointment with last year’s finish and said this year they’ll definitely need to work on that aspect of the game.
“(We need) a lot more intensity, a lot more heart and just a little more grit,” he said. “I think this year, we just want to have a little more when we’re out there and just be a physical club and take back ownership of what we did in the first year.”
The Coyotes’ hockey season officially kicks off on Sept. 14 with a game in Penticton.
Bedard said it’s exciting to be going into the Coyotes’ third year and he hopes to see this club around for years to come.
“The crowd support has been outstanding, the corporate support has been great as well and our volunteers are always there, so I just want to make it a real viable thing and sustainable so people aren’t wondering from year to year whether or not the Coyotes are coming back,” he said. “We want to keep this going for years and always be a competitive team.”