The Estevan Bruins are expecting to have upwards of 70 players at their fall training camp September 7 to 9 at Spectra Place.
"We definitely have a couple holes to fill, but I think with the bodies we have coming into camp, the quality of guys we have coming in, it's not going to be an issue filling those holes," said director of player personnel Rick Oakes.
Thirteen players from last year's club are returning, and three newcomers have junior hockey experience. Several talented rookies will be vying for spots at camp. Other players will be getting at camp for experience.
Veteran players not expected to return from last year's team are goalie Tyler Ross (who is expected to play in the United States Hockey League); defencemen Dominic Perrault (graduation) and Zach MacLellan (attending school); and forwards Derek Whitehill (graduation), Matt Dochylo (graduation), Michael Hengen (school), Dylan Smith (playing in the Eastern Junior Hockey League) and Josh Jelinski (opted not to return). Jelinski was last year's captain.
Veteran defenceman/forward Eric Baldwin is awaiting a trade, and isn't expected to return.
Goaltender Steven Glass headlines the talent in net. Glass finished last season as the team's No. 1 goalie, and he was named the Bruins' playoff MVP.
"In past years, we've been hunting goalies, and trying to find that No. 1 guy," said Oakes. "I think after Steven's regular season last year, and especially how he performed in the post-season, we're very high on him. Around the league, he's regarded very highly as well."
Travis Pelletier, who dressed as a back-up for the Bruins on several occasions last year as a midget AAA call-up, is among those who will be challenging for the back-up job. Oakes said there'll be three other goalies in camp trying to challenge Pelletier.
The list of candidates for the blue-line includes returnees Tyler Kauk, Austin Yano, Connor Milligan, Tyler Poskus and Denin Boesch. Patrick Hurley was acquired from Wisconsin in the Superior International Junior Hockey League in late August. Newcomers will include David Robertson, Brett Dumaine and Zach Douglas.
One other defenceman, Sean Whelan, has been in the camp with the WHL's Regina Pats. He'll be in the Bruins' camp if he's cut by the Pats.
Calder Neufeld, Cole Olson, Tanner Froese, Taylor Reich, Ben Johnstone, Matt Brykaliuk and Tyler Paswalski are the returning forwards from last year's team. Nick Weiss and Hudson Morrison have junior experience in Alberta and Manitoba, respectively.
Among the rookie forwards who will be battling for roster spots are Dayton Picard, Wyatt Garagan, Brandon Halbgewachs, Ben Williams and Dylan Johner.
Another forward, Darcy DeRoose, is at training camp with the WHL's Moose Jaw Warriors, while local product Austin Daae is trying out with the Pats.
Camp will open with registration and orientation. The first scrimmage on September 7 starts at 6:30 p.m. Additional scrimmages will be held September 7 and 8.
The annual Black versus Gold intersquad game will start at 3 p.m. on September 9. The winner of that game will receive the Gerry Aspen Cup.