For the third summer in a row, the Manitoba Junior Hockey League held their MJHL Prospect Development Camp at the stunning Seven Oaks Sportsplex in Winnipeg last weekend.
There were 76 of the top prospects from across the province on hand for the camp, players born in 2002 and 2003, including several players from the southeast, as well as several that are the property of the Steinbach Pistons, as most of the players were already drafted by MJHL clubs in the bantam age draft.
Anyone watching one of those scrimmages/workouts last weekend would have been impressed with the skill and speed that was on display by the players, especially since it was in late July.
But Steinbach Pistons head coach Paul Dyck says that has been the trend in recent years as far the preparations of the players in the game today, "I have seen it each year at this camp, how they come prepared, I have noticed a difference from year to year."
Dyck was keeping an eye on four of the Pistons prospects at the camp, including imposing defenceman Zach Davis from Winnipeg, who comes in at 6’4" and 240 lbs. Two other defenceman include Lucas Fry from Winnipeg, who played for RHA Nationals last season; and Ethan Johnson from Winnipeg, who played ‘AAA’ midget with the Interlake Lightning; and 6’3", 200 lb. forward Landon Roberts from Souris, who was with the ‘AAA’ midget Southwest Cougars.
There were a number of players from the southeast participating in the camp, players which are property of other MJHL teams.
They included Ashton Romaniuk from La Broquerie, Kade Runke from Grunthal, Andrew Blocker from Dugald, Matt Egan from St. Adolphe, Caiden Gault from Oakbank, Justin Keck from Morris, Ethan McColm from Oakbank and Kyle Melo from Lorette.
Dyck says coming in prepared for camps such as this is more the norm today, "although they may not be in mid-season form, many of these players are training away from the rink in summer and then they ramp it up in August."
One of the instructors at the camp was Eddie Olczyk Jr., who is the assistant coach of the NCAA Division I Bemidji State Beavers. Bemidji State was one of six NCAA Division I schools that were observing the camp.
Meanwhile, the Steinbach Pistons are now one month away from the start of training camp for the upcoming MJHL season.