HUMBOLDT — For the Humboldt Broncos, their spring camp is a major part of a process to fill the holes left by eight graduating players and anyone else that chooses to move on.
“We’ve got holes in about every position on our team. We need a lot of players here next year, said Scott Barney, the Broncos’ head coach. “We’ve got basically a whole rebuild of a team here and we're looking forward to getting that done and getting things going in August there.”
The camp, held April 26 to 28 at the Elgar Petersen Arena, saw 85 players born from 2001 to 2003 from as far away as New Brunswick and Arizona come for a chance to be examined by the Broncos staff. The top 40 of the group competed in a game April 28.
Barney said he thought the camp went well and the players competed hard.
“There’s definitely some future Broncos in those players for sure.”
At this point, the Broncos are focused on finding talented players and not so much on reducing it down to the number needed for a team.
“We're hoping to have a bunch of kids back,” Barney said. “We haven't narrowed too much down. We’ve got to deliberate with all the scouts here and go over a bunch of things. We talked to each kid there and just let them know where they stand.”
The coach said he’s looking for a little bit of everything, starting with players that have strong character, followed by a good hockey sense and skating skills.
“You never can have too much too many talented players,” he said. “It's like putting a puzzle together. You got to have the right pieces fit together, so hopefully we can do that here over the summer now.”
The team will also be looking to fill the two goalie spots, as both are leaving.
Barney noted two local Humboldt players that attended the camp.
“Noah Barlage, he looked really good out there. He's a young kid. He's a 2003 birth year. He’s really young so he could be a future Bronco here for us.”
Austin Berezowski, a 2003 player, was also mentioned.
“He didn’t make the top 40 but he looked really good,” Barney said. “There’s potential down the road for him.”
The team is planning its main camp at the end of August or early September. Around 60 players are expected to attend that event.