The 2016-2017 Grande Prairie Storm season ended with the team's first playoff appearance in four years.
The 2017-2018 campaign officially kicks of this weekend at Revolution Arena with the team's annual Spring Camp.
Around 80 players will be on hand trying to impress coaches Matt Keillor, assistant-coach Dennis Rix, general manager Mark Bomersback and the Storm scouting staff during on-ice sessions Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The players have been split into four teams – Red, Blue, Grey and Black and will each get one game Friday and Sunday and two Saturday.
Unlike some years when the camp was an open-to-all event, this year isn't.
“The unique thing is this year we decided to go with an exclusively invite only camp,” said Keillor. “So to have the interest we have had is very exciting.”
Almost half the players at the camp are from the Peace Country.
“We have over 30 Peace area players with representation from almost every local minor hockey association,” said Keillor.
All three western provinces are represented as well as the United States.
“We have players coming from as far away as Colorado,” said Keillor.
Keillor is expecting some good battles as the young players look to crack Grande Prairie's Junior A squad.
” This will be one of the most competitive camps we have had in quite some time,” he said. “We will have a few top scorers from the Alberta Midget Hockey League and Alberta Minor Midget Hockey League in attendance. We were looking for speed, skill, and character. Mark (Bomersback) and our staff have been hard at work finding kids that have all three of those characteristics.
“We are very happy with the numbers and the quality.”
When asked how many players from this camp will be invited to the main camp in late-August, Keillor said “we will let the players decide that.”
Each team have a current Storm player as a leader. Walker Cote is looking after Red, Landon Vollman has Blue, Carter Wolski is mentoring Grey and Cruz Cote is in charge of Black.
Here is the camp schedule:
1 p.m. – Registration
3 p.m. – Red vs. Blue
4:45 p.m. – Grey vs. Black
6:30 p.m. – Goalie Session
9 a.m. – Red vs. Blue
11:30 a.m. – Grey vs. Black
1:45 p.m. – Parent Session In Stands
2:30 p.m. – Goalie Session
3:20 p.m. – Blue vs. Grey
6 p.m. – Black vs. Red
9 a.m. – Black vs. Blue
11:30 a.m. – Red vs. Grey