The Merritt Centennials concluded their Merritt ID camp on Sunday afternoon after a weekend of ice times at the NVMA.
Due to COVID-19, there were no parents or fans allowed entry into the building, but the Centennials coaching and support staff were able to get an uninterrupted look at some potential candidates for the team this year and in the future. Split into 3 groups of 17 and again into two teams from there, aspiring Cents faced off against each other in multiple ice sessions a day. The first few ice times were allotted to drills designed to emulate coaching philosophies in the defensive, neutral, and offensive zones: breakouts, break-ins, and preferences. From there the teams broke into 3-on-3 sessions where the players got to put their skill on display with all the open ice.
Director of Hockey Operations John Stuart says that there was a dozen players that impressed enough to get the invite to Fall Evaluation Camp.
"I was verry happy with the talent at camp. Plaers left camp exhausted and happy with how everything was run. Coaching and scouting staff did a tremendous job organizing and running the camp. We plan to take 12 players from this ID camp right onto our Fall Evaluation Camp which will be the last chance to impress before we select our final roster."
With an age group varying from 2001 born to 2005 born players, the coaches and evaluators had their hands full combing through the talent that graced the ice. A couple familial connections to the Centennials organization also got a look, and perhaps a glimpse into the future. Younger brother to current Cent Ben Ward, Sam Ward (05) skated with team Black. Cousin of incoming forward Walker Erickson, Merik Erickson (04) was between the pipes for the duration of camp. Nephew to broadcaster Jared Thomas, Oliver Melnychuk (05) suited up with a veteran laden team White. There was talent from all over the BC with players from the KIJHL, PJHL, BC Major Midget, the CSSHL and beyond all represented.
Head coach Derek Sweet Coulter says the camp was a success and was a team effort from everyone involved.
"We are grateful for every player who travelled to Merritt to be here for this camp. The weekend was a complete success because of all the humble people involved. We are looking forward to an incredible year with great selfless people who are giving themselves to this great organization and making it better every day."
The Merritt ID camp was a last chance to get a look at some outliers before the invite only Fall Evaluation Camp that will take place at the NVMA from August 31st to September 3rd.