Chris Lewgood says he always looks forward to fall camp.
It'll be a particularly special camp for Lewgood this year, as it will be his first as the head coach and general manager of the Estevan Bruins.
"I can't wait," said Lewgood. "I've always enjoyed hockey camp. When I was growing up and playing hockey, and then as a coach, I love camp weekend. It's always been one of my favourite times of the year."
Nearly 70 players are expected to be at Spectra Place for this year's camp. They will be separated into four teams to participate in scrimmages on September 6 and 7. The Bruins will then select about 40 players to play in the annual Black/Gold intersquad game at 6 p.m. on September 8.
Nine players who finished the season with the Bruins are slated to be at camp. They'll also have forward Austin Daae, who split last season between the Bruins and the WHL's Prince Albert Raiders; and Carlyle product Ben Johnstone, who played with the Bruins in 2011-12, and was re-acquired by the Bruins a couple months ago.
Several other players with junior experience will be at camp, including goaltender Matt Gibney, who was another off-season acquisition.
Several players eligible to return from last year's team won't be at camp. Goaltender Steven Glass and forward Brett Dumaine were shipped to Alberta in separate moves. Defenceman Nick Egan has signed with a team in the U.S. Hockey League, and forward Matt Brykaliuk has joined a junior team in Arizona.
Defenceman Tyler Kauk was dealt to the Flin Flon Bombers in July in exchange for 17-year-old defenceman Connor Vermuelen, but Lewgood announced on September 2 that the deal has been negated.
"Vermuelen's family has moved to Alberta, and as an underage player, he's not eligible to play for us," said Lewgood. "The conditions that we wrote into the deal say that if he didn't report to the Bruins, the deal would be null and void.
Kauk's rights will revert back to the Bruins. Lewgood said he didn't immediately know whether Kauk would be at the Bruins' camp, or what the club's next step would be.
"It's something that, as a hockey club, we're going to discuss internally, and we'll come to a decision that's best for the team and the player," said Lewgood.
Kauk was also refusing to report to Flin Flon.
One player who will be in the Bruins' camp is forward Lynnden Pastachak, a 17-year-old Bienfait product who was let go by the WHL's Red Deer Rebels.
"It was one of those things where, if he wasn't going to play there, with a guarantee from the Rebels, he was coming back (to Estevan)," said Lewgood. "He didn't want to soil his WHL eligibility. He's an intelligent kid, and whether he goes the Western League route or the NCAA route, he has a bright future.
"We knew it was either going to be a short stay, or he was going to be there for good."
Among the other top prospects who will be in camp are goaltender Brett Lewchuk, defenceman Nolan Nicholas, and forwards Keegan Allison, Chris Thorimbert and Keaton Longpre.
Two players who remain in WHL camps include second-year forward Darcy DeRoose, who is trying to join the Moose Jaw Warriors, and 17-year-old prospect forward Carter Folk, who is expected to make the roster of the Seattle Thunderbirds.
The club has also announced the hiring of three assistant coaches. Darnell Glass, who was the team's captain and MVP in the 2006-07 season, has been selected as the assistant coach. Matt Dochylo, who skated with the team from 2010 to 2012, will be a video coach. And Aren Miller, who was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 1998, is the goaltending coach.