The rookies have strutted their stuff for the Prince Albert Raiders’ staff and now it is the veterans who get to show how bad they want to play with the Western Hockey League team.
Rookie camp concluded on Thursday at the Art Hauser Centre with a controlled scrimmage game ending in a shootout. Draft picks from the past two seasons plus a number of listed players were front and centre and Raiders’ general manager Bruno Campese was pleased with what he saw.
“It was very competitive,” said Campese as he and his scouting staff were preparing for the difficult job of deciding who to keep around for the remainder of training camp. “They are a younger group so it was a little disorganized, but there was a lot of compete out there.”
The rookie camp was a new twist to how the team was going to evaluate talent this year and Campese said that 17 of the players who were auditioning during rookie camp will be held over to join the 23 veterans who are now all back in the city.
“Our young draft picks from this year looked good and the picks we had last year, like Reid Gardiner who had three goals the other night, looked exceptional,” said Campese.
While the rookies were on the ice, the veterans were put through their paces with a series of fitness tests on Thursday and Campese said he was pleased from those results as well.
“We’re very pleased with them,” said Campese. “They really bought into the message we gave them at the end of last year. They look really good.”
The veterans were to take to the ice this morning for a workout with the rookies getting a bit of a break, but at 5 p.m. today all 40 players remaining in camp will be on the ice for the first in a series of controlled scrimmages.
Two more games will be played on Saturday at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. with the annual intra-squad game scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Raiders will then make some moves following that game as they prepare for their first exhibition game on Friday against the Saskatoon Blades.