A total of 38 athletes spent this past weekend showing their agility, hockey skill, and drive to the coaches of the Columbia Valley Rockies at this year’s main camp. Each athlete working to demonstrate they have what it takes to be one of the Rockies.
“We do the same thing every year and sometimes we’re luckier in one year than the next. Everything seemed to work out pretty well this year recruiting wise,” said head coach Wade Dubielewicz.
According to Mr. Dubielewicz, the local hockey program is a development program meaning each year they lose athletes to the next level, causing the team to have to recruit more than most hockey programs.
“The majority of our kids do come from Alberta for the sole reason location wise. It’s pretty tough for us to recruit in B.C. outside local and the Kootenays because any kid from up north or in Vancouver has to go through 19 other KIJHL cities before they get to Invermere. So it’s always an uphill battle,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
This year’s camp saw a good mix of younger athletes and returnees making the camp competitive. Mr. Dubielewicz commented that the coaching staff are pretty happy with the product.
“I think with how recruitment went we’re looking to have a very successful season in the wins and loss column,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
At camp this year the Rockies coaches saw eight local products, all who showed fairly well according to the coach. After watching all the athletes on this ice over the weekend, Mr. Dubielewicz foresees defense as being the strong point of this year’s team.
“I think it’s going to be our depth up front and on the backend. I don’t think we’ve ever started a year with such a strong D-core and as much depth up front,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
Heading into main camp the coaching staff named last season’s defensive player of the year, Cooper Krauss, as captain.
“Cooper Krauss: he’s a kid from Okotoks, he played for us last year and he exemplifies those leadership qualities you look for to be a captain,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
The Columbia Valley Rockies will start their season on the road Friday, September 8th in Kimberley and return for their first home game Saturday, September 9th. The hockey program is still looking for a few more billet homes to house players for the season. Anyone interested in becoming a billet can call the Rockies at 250-342-0582.