With less than a week to go, five A&W Bears are looking to make Team Saskatchewan’s U16 and U18 rosters at the prospects camp at Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask.
Beginning on July 30, the five-day camp will test the athletes’ physical ability to determine the top 20 players that will move forward to play at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George in 2015.
Bears forward Ireland South and defenseman Cassidy Carlson are both seeking a spot with Team Saskatchewan’s U16 roster.
South has been preparing for the upcoming prospects camp.
“I’ve been working out with one of the trainers in Melfort to get my muscle strength up,” Ireland South said.
She added that she’s been training on the ice with one of the assistant coaches for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
South played 28 games with the Bears during the 2013-2014 regular season, scoring a total of six goals with one assist, including one game winner, two on the power play and one short-handed.
“I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s abilities and how I compare to anyone else,” she said.
South has heard from teammates that the fitness testing will be difficult, but she knows the camp is a stepping-stone for her career.
“My plan is, I really want to go far in hockey, that’s one of my dreams,” she said. “I really want to go there to prove myself in some ways.”
Like many who will attend the camp, South’s goal is to make the final cut and play with Team Saskatchewan at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
“I’m hoping I’ll make it,” South laughed. “I’m sure hoping.”
Cassidy Carlson knows the competition is going to be tough at the camp.
“You’re fighting to be the best you can be,” she said.
The defenseman had four assists in 28 games with a total of 32 penalty minutes for the Bears during the 2013-2014 regular season.
Carlson is familiar with the try out process as it’s something she went through before going to the Saskatchewan Winter Games with Team Lakeland.
She notes that the prospects camp will lead to more opportunities in hockey.
“It’s one of the best opportunities I’ll ever have to play hockey and I’m looking forward to it,” Carlson said.
Three Bears will also be competing for a spot on Saskatchewan’s U18 team, including goaltender Jessica Vance, defenseman Brooke Hobson and forward Tylor Lindsay.
Vance had 12 wins and eight losses in 21 games in the last regular season. Her save percentage was .943 with 525 shots against.
Hobson scored 13 goals and had seven assists in 26 games last season, including three game winners, three on the power play and one short-handed.
Lindsay had 16 goals and 12 assists in 27 games during the regular season, including two short-handed, seven on the power play and two game winners.
Vance, Hobson and Lindsay were unavailable for interviews.