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Leafs find a few gems at weekend Prospects Camp

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
April 18th, 2011

By Bruce Fuhr
The Nelson Daily Sports

Listening to head coach Chris Shaw after the weekend most would think the month on the calendar is August and not April.

“I couldn’t be happier. . .. This (camp) has definitely exceeded my expectations,” said Shaw after the Nelson Prospect’s Camp ending Sunday at the NDCC Arena.

“The quality of players attending our camp was truly just as good as the Junior A camps I’ve gone to scout which speaks highly of the City of Nelson and the hockey people here.”

The camp by the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League franchise, attracting 80 players from throughout the province, mirrors what many Junior A franchises hold to get an early look at the talent level.

Shaw had some veterans attend the three-day camp along with invited minor hockey stars from as young at 14 years of age and major midget players.

The camp was divided into four teams, playing a round robin format, which allowed coaches to gauge first hand the progress of the players.

“The biggest surprise, I’d say, is the young 14 year old players or 96ers from Nelson,” Shaw explained. “They’re some great kids coming up like Colton Dachwitz, Tyler Podgorenko. I was really impressed with them.”

Of course, the real reason for the Leafs hosting the camp was to, first see the players in action, but secondly, to begin dialogue with the future Leaf players.

“I got to see some players I didn’t know about before this camp and at the end of the day I saw the potential six, seven or eight players that have the skill to be in a Leaf uniform next season,” explained Shaw.

Shaw realizes the goal for most players at the camp is to find a spot on a B.C. Junior Hockey League team. But to those players unable to make the grade there’s always a spot in Nelson.

“The first goal should be Junior A, and that what I want for all the players but I’ll keep tabs on them and if things don’t work out I’ll give them every opportunity to play for our team.”

Next up for the Leafs is the team AGM in May. The team is also hosting a hockey school July 25-29 at the NDCC Arena. . .The KIJHL AGM is set for a Watermark Resort June 17-19 in Osoyoos.

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