BROOKS, AB – Less than a week after seeing their season come to an abrupt end, the Brooks Bandits regrouped over the weekend to peer into the future.
Hundreds of midget players hit the ice at Centennial Regional Arena to take part in Brooks’ annual spring camp, looking to become the next Bandits great.
Fifteen-year-old Robert Kincaid plays defence for the St. Albert Minor Midget AAA Flyers and said it was an easy choice accepting the camp invite.
“Their [defence] coach is amazing,” said Kincaid. “Some of the players they've had like Cale Makar and Dennis Cesana are just amazing players. So, I want to play like them.”
Over 200 prospects attended the three-day camp and were split into 12 teams to compete in scrimmages to impress the Bandits scouting staff.
Most of the players hail from Alberta, and area that head scout Wayne Labrie said the Bandits are trying to scout more aggressively.
“We've had success in the US, we've had success in Ontario, but we felt as a program we've maybe missed out on some Alberta kids.”
Of course, Brooks’ track record of securing NCAA scholarships is helping to draw more elite talent to these yearly camps.
A total of 11 members from the 2017-18 Bandits team are committed to play not just at US colleges, but for Division I programs as well.
Edge School forward and Bandits prospect Luke German said that’s a major reason behind his push to eventually make the team.
“All of their college commitments drew me in because that's my end goal,” said German. “And, the facility is really nice as well.”
“That's the exciting part of promoting kids to a program where you know as a scout, and you know as a scouting staff, that those players are going to be promoted to get to the college level,” said Labrie.
Brooks will be hosting the 2019 RBC Cup, meaning one of two players from this weekend’s camp could be playing for a national championship next year.
With so many players to choose from, Labrie added it will be up to the prospects to separate themselves from the pack.
“That's going to be dictated by the player himself and the work that he puts in throughout the summer,” he said. “That's basically what we're trying to tell these young guys now is, ‘Okay, you've got your foot in the door, now it's just a matter of getting through that door, and getting that uniform over your head.’”
While some prospects could be RBC Cup bound next season, Labrie said most of the players from this year’s camp will be for the following year’s team.
As for Kincaid, he would love to be a part of the 2018-19 squad, but is happy knowing the Bandits are taking notice of his play.
“It would be amazing, it would be really cool,” he said. “But, if I don't there's always next year.”
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