Thunder camp shows talent
While he was pleased with the quality of play on display at the Ron Ebbesen Arena, Airdrie Thunder Head Coach Cam Aplin, couldn’t help but be disappointed by the overall numbers that came out to the team’s training camp from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2.
“We were hoping to have at least 30 skaters, but we ended up with 21 here,” Aplin said. “There were about six guys who were at Junior ‘A’ camps and trying to make those teams there, but we were still low on numbers for whatever reason.”
“However, as the Junior ‘A’ teams start to cut more guys this week, we should see some more bodies start to float around here,” he added.
Though the number of overall skaters was less than what he had hoped for, Aplin was quite happy with how those at the camp performed in their quest to make the Junior B squad.
“I really like what I have seen out here so far,” Aplin said. “We have some really talented hockey players, and it’s now up to us as coaches to put them all together and mould them into a team.”
Two of the players who impressed Aplin during the weekend were forward Austin Masse of Airdrie and defenceman Liam Wiese from Rimbey AB, who are both expected to be key players on the Thunder as they look to capture the 2013/14 Heritage Junior Hockey League (HJHL) championship.
“Austin played with the UFA Bisons midget team last year and he has a lot of finish around the net,” Aplin said. “That was something which we lacked last year, and we see him as being a big piece of the puzzle for us going forward.”
“Liam played for the Blackfalds Wranglers in this league (the HJHL) for the last two seasons and is now going to school in Calgary, and he will be a huge addition on the back end with his play,” he added.
The Thunder is now getting ready for the start of its exhibition season, which will get underway at the Ron Ebbesen Arena on Sept. 6, when the team will play host to the defending HJHL champions the Okotoks Bisons at 8 p.m.
Both sides will square off again in Okotoks at 3 p.m. on Sept. 8.