Training camps fully underway: regular season fast approaching

Training camp is an extremely busy time for MJHL teams. Coaches and their support staff are evaluating players, with an eye to both the present and future.

OCN Blizzard Head Coach/GM Doug Hedley is happy to be back at the rink, preparing his club for the upcoming season.

“It’s been good so far,” said Hedley, who makes his return to OCN, previously serving as head coach in 2009. “We had a bit of a late start, but we’re right into it now. We had three teams at our rookie camp; then brought 22 players from that camp to our main camp.

“We have four teams at our main camp. We’re definitely keeping everyone busy. We had a good opportunity to see and evaluate our list players; watch some of our northern list players. It’s definitely a busy time.”

A long-time junior hockey coach, Hedley knows the importance of running a smooth-operating training camp, and the importance of evaluating players. Players are closely watched during inter-squad games, practices and pre-season games.

Since being named GM/Head Coach, Hedley went about building an experienced, seasoned hockey staff. Long-time assistant coach Greg Hunter has returned to the bench, while former Blizzard player Tyler Grove was hired as a strength and conditioning coach.

“You build in drills to evaluate players, how they do in battle drills, their respective skill level, their compete level,” he said. “Skating is obviously something we watch closely. Junior A hockey is very fast, and skating ability is a must.”

Hedley, a former MJHL coach of the year, promises his squad will be ready for action when the regular season opens Friday, Sept. 23.

Hedley, a native of Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, has 20 years of coaching experience between Midget AAA and Jr A Hockey. Most recently, he spent last season as Head Coach of the Parkland AAA Rangers leading them to a 19-21 record.

“I’m happy to be back in the MJHL and OCN Blizzard,” he said. “We have some good-looking prospects and of course some good veterans returning.”