~ Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war ~
Just like that, the 2011 Grizzlies Prospects camp comes to a close and I dare say, the Grizzlies coaching staff assembled some great looking players that will no doubtingly be back at the main training camp in August.
With 14 players not returning from this past season, there stands a good chance of seeing many of these prospects in the summer and more so on the final roster. Over 160 kids played their hearts out during these past 3 days and they did not disappoint. There were some big hits, beautiful goals and rock solid transition. The craziest thing I identified at this camp was the skill and maturity of players 13 and 14 years old. It was unreal if you didn't know their age, you would think they were 19 or 20 year old veterans of junior "A" hockey. This tells me one thing for certain, the future looks bright for the Grizzlies Nation!
Looking ahead though, the biggest gap left is between the pipes as #1 netminder from last season Matt Ginn, the legend, is not returning. He has taken his scholarship to Holy Cross in the NCAA. This is a big blow as he was the rock of the Grizzlies playoff drive. So picking goalies will be the toughest test during the off season for the coaching staff.
Those chosen for this years prospects all-star game all played very well. A big thanks to the following players for putting on a good game.
G - Bowman Rutledge
G - Stephen Heslop
G - Eric Palliser
G - Jesse Sidaway
G - Justin Bowe
G - Colton Wright
Putting on a camp such as this one really proves to people how much the Grizzlies organization cares about the development of young players. So to the management team and coaching staff, well done, you all organized an amazing camp. What was truly inspiring was that Head Coach & General Manager, Victor Gervais along with alternating assistant coaches, took the time to do one-on-one evaluations with each and every player. It was a very time consuming process but one that will stick in the minds of those players.
With 5 months until the main training camp begins, one can only speculate as to what the Grizzlies will look like for the 2011-2012 season. Will our identity change again? Will the expectations be higher then this past season?
Will next year be a rebuilding year? Or a re-energizing year?
I guess you'll have to wait and make that judgement for yourself.