100 Mile House Wranglers head coach and general manager Dale “Duner” Hladun has been a busy guy this summer and he expects things to get busier with quite a bit of time being spent on the road.
With the Wranglers winning the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League title, the British Columbia and the Western Canadian championships, Hladun expected to have a few holes in his lineup from last year.
He expected many of last year’s players would be getting offers for tryouts for various Junior A teams.
It’s a natural step up from Junior B for the players, Duner says, adding he knew that was going to happen.
The coach says he even “encouraged a couple of the boys” to go to some Junior A camps.
Last year’s Wranglers Tavis Roch is committed to the OCN Blizzard in Le Pas, Manitoba, and Tate Page is going to Kindersley in the Saskatchewan Junior League.
Alex Meeker is trying out for the Drayton Valley in Alberta league.
Adam Derochie is going to Melfort in the Saskatchewan Junior League for tryouts.
Alex Hanson is going to try out for the Cowichan Valley in the British Columbia Hockey League.
“Other than that, a chunk of the kids should be back. Whether those other guys make Junior A or not we don’t know, but we’ll see how it goes. Roch and Page are committed for sure.”
So when he looks at the roster, Duner says he needs a couple of goalies, five or six defencemen and four or five forwards.
“I have about a half a roster to recruit. So it’s much like it was last year, there are some holes to fill.”
However, he is not rushing to recruit just anyone because he wants to get guys who are going to be able to live in 100 Mile House.
“We want quality kids who are good people on and off the ice … kids who are great in the dressing room and willing to work hard for the whole team, the other players and not just for themselves.”
That search for quality teams players will have Duner on the road and checking out who is available after the Junior A camps.
Meanwhile, the Wranglers main camp is scheduled for the South Cariboo Rec. Centre from Sept. 1 to 4.
Registration for main camp is at 1 p.m. on Sept. 1.
Two days of on-ice instruction and evaluation will be followed by two exhibition games against the Port Moody Panthers of the Pacific Junior Hockey League at the South Cariboo Rec., Centre.
The first game is on Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. and the second is on Sept. 4 at 1 p.m.
They will have a day off and likely there will be a practice, he notes.
The Wranglers travel to Lumby to take on the Revelstoke Grizzlies on Sept. 6, with the puck dropping at 7 p.m.
Hladun says it will be a small competitive camp, “which will be similar to what it was like last year because you don’t know who is coming back because they are trying to make Junior A.”
He says the coaches will know what players they want after they watch them play.
“You really don’t see that in practice, so we’ll have a better idea after the exhibition games.”
He adds there’s always a chance that some of last year’s boys may end up in Wranglers jerseys.