The Kimberley Dynamiters have announced they are going ahead with their main camp, running September 18 to 20 at the Kimberley Civic Centre, with their regular seasons scheduled to commence October 2.
“We’re a little cautiously optimistic still,” said Dynamiters head coach and general manager Derek Stuart.
“We haven’t been told we can’t go ahead with our plan of starting October 2, I don’t know exactly the details with regards to fans, but I think we’re going to need to have some type of fanbase in every game for us to actually play. As long as that happens I think we’re just going to prepare to play and start when we’ve been told to unless we’re told otherwise.”
With some COVID-19 restrictions still in place, such as a limit of 50 people allowed in the building at a time, Stuart says they are planning for a slightly smaller camp this year.
“I think this year we’re going to try and maybe have a smaller camp; bring the veterans back, the signed players and then just guys that we truly think have a chance to earn a spot on the team and sort of have a smaller camp and reduce our risks and reduce our chances of getting into any tough situations.”
Ideally they’d like to cap the number at under 40 to be sure they’re not ever pushing the 50-person maximum. Plus, with all the number of veterans and really talented signed players coming in, Stuart doesn’t think there will actually be that many spots open.
“There are some players that are still sort of undecided, I think there’s five or six that are trying out or are committed to Junior A teams, so there’s always the possibility of them returning,” he explained. “Veterans coming straight back that we know of already I think there’s five or six of them and then two or three that are undecided. So I think if we get those veterans back and get a number close towards ten, along with the guys who we’ve committed to already, the signed rookies, I think we’re going to be looking at 13 or 15 guys hopefully at camp that have a spot to lose at the start of the year anyways.”
That said, Stuart says he expects this camp to be a competitive one, with several crucial spots up for grabs.
“We want guys here that can challenge for spots and even though there isn’t maybe a lot of spots possibly open, there are still spots open and some pretty important positions that we need,” Stuart said. “We lost a lot of scoring last year and quite a few defence and so there’s some quality spots that are open and I think the guys are going to have a good time battling and I think our veterans better be in shape because we have some good young kids coming in to camp.”
The latest player to be signed to the team was announced on Monday, Aug. 24, Forward Ty Smith coming from Sherwood Park, AB.
With still a lot of uncertainty hanging over the upcoming season, Stuart simply hopes they can keep going as scheduled. He added that with other leagues, such as Manitoba Junior A and Saskatchewan Junior A, scheduled to begin ahead of the Nitros, they should be able to get a sense of how things will look.
“Hopefully that will push the right decision towards us playing as well,” Stuart said.
Another component with the upcoming season that is made more challenging due to COVID-19 are the billeting homes, with some families deciding to take this year off due to specific personal reasons and because of the pandemic.
“It’s definitely a challenge right now for our billet coordinators so hopefully we’ll get a few more people in the community that are willing to help us out in these tough times,” Stuart said.
For information on becoming a billet family, you can contact billet coordinator Karrie Hall at email@example.com or 250-427-6525.
If you are interested in competing for a spot on the team and want to come to the camp, contact Stuart at 250-520-0450 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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