The Sicamous Eagles lineup is shaping up into a formidable force for the 2011/12 season.
The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League franchise had about 70 prospects take part in the last of its camps at the Sicamous and District Recreation Centre. Similar numbers attended three earlier camps in Smithers, 100 Mile House and Sicamous.
For team manager Wayne March, it’s been an opportunity to pick out the best of what the Interior has to offer.
“We’ve done quite well in bringing the kids out, having a good look at them, and really picking the cream of the crop,” says March. “Not only in hockey skills, but they’ve got to have decent character and no off-ice problems, none, because I won’t put up with it.”
March says the last camp brought out a good mix of skill, strength and youth, and he’s pretty pleased with the potential of those picked to play in the coming hockey season.
“I’ve just been carding players here and we are going to be a lot better than last year,” says March.
“Our defence is going to be big, strong. We’ve got two defencemen, one is 224 lbs, 6 ft 3 ins. Another one we signed out of Fort St. James, he’s six-foot-two, 210 lbs. And we’ve got us some really skilled forwards,” says March.
Despite the positive outlook, March stresses that with the Eagles, the game is not about the win, it’s about developing players and moving them onwards and upwards.
Fans hate to see you lose. We’ve gone through losing streaks and you hear from the fans and that,” says March. “But the bottom line, when the season is over, and you see 10, 12, 15 kids go to the next level, you’ve won. You may not have won the banner or the league, but you’ve won in the end because those kids have gone on to the next level.”
The Eagles kick off regular play on Sept. 16.