With temperatures still in the 30s, it’s hard to believe hockey season is just around the corner.
Considering that most competitive hockey leagues begin their tryouts before the Labour Day weekend, the Osoyoos Coyotes hockey club has organized its inaugural Osoyoos Junior Preparation Camp, set to begin Wednesday at the Sun Bowl Arena in Osoyoos.
“This will give all of the kids who are getting ready for tryouts to come in for a few days of conditioning and get a little game action as well,” said Ken Law, the veteran coach and general manager of the Coyotes, who will begin their training camp for the upcoming Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) on August 29.
“We’ve got 30 kids between the ages of 16 and 21 who are already registered and we hope to be close to our target of 40 players by the time the camp opens on Wednesday.”
A total of 15 players who are expected to try out to make the Coyotes roster for the 2013-14 KIJHL season are expected to be part of the conditioning camp, said Law.
Practices will take place for all players between 2:30 and 3:30 pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. They will take place from 11 am until 12:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Players will be split up into teams and games will be held from 7:30-9:30 pm on Wednesday evening, 6:30-8:30 pm on Thursday and Friday. Games will also take place from 5:30-7:30 pm on Saturday and 7:30-9:30 pm on Sunday.
Law, who helps run numerous conditioning and tryout camps in Canada and the United States, said he has wanted to bring this camp to Osoyoos since taking over as the head coach of the Coyotes several years ago.
“It’s something that I have been thinking about for awhile,” he said. “I help run a few other similar camps and just came back from conditioning camps in Dallas and Denver and they’re a great way to evaluate talent and allow young players the opportunity to get in decent shape before heading off to their various training camps.”
When the players in Osoyoos aren’t on the ice, they will be participating in some dryland training sessions, said Law.
A total of six goaltenders have also signed up for the camp.
Law is hoping the summer conditioning camp will become a fixture in this community.
“We’re going to run the camp this year and see how it goes and go from there,” he said. “I think there are enough kids from this region, combined with all the kids who are here on vacation, to run a successful camp at this time of year.”
There will be players from across the South Okanagan as well as a few from Alberta and the United States participating in the inaugural camp this week, said Law.
“We’re still in the middle of summer, but the reality is most training camps start in the next couple of weeks and we feel this conditioning camp will provide a great opportunity for kids trying out for midget, junior A and college to get on the ice against some pretty good competition and get in great shape before they head off to camp.”
Geoff Goodman, who was recently signed as the new assistant coach for the Coyotes, will be helping Law run the conditioning camp.
All local hockey fans will be able to catch the hockey action throughout the week free of charge.
Special to the Chronicle