JASPER, AB – The teams have been set and the prospects are ready to participate in the fourth annual Billy Moores Cup in Jasper. Signalling the wrap-up of a productive week at Orientation Camp, the prospects are eager to put what they’ve learned to the test.
“It’s going to be fun,” said goaltending prospect Dylan Wells. “I think that’s the way you have to approach it. You have to go in there and just have fun with it, you can’t really expect too much, I mean, pretty much everyone here hasn’t played in a couple months. I don’t think I’ve played a game since April so it’ll be my first in a while, and I think it’ll be most of the other guys first game in a while too, so everybody’s just going to go out there and have fun. We’re all friends, but everybody’s going to work hard and obviously you want to win so it’ll be good.”
Rustiness aside, the competition will be brimming with excitement as Team Gretzky (Blue) and Team Messier (White) prepare to face off at 7 p.m. tonight. As the players retire for an afternoon of rest and relaxation prior to the game, the coaches, such as Oilers Goaltending Coach Dustin Schwartz, said he is looking forward to what the five prospect goaltenders will execute in net.
“I’ll be watching the compete, the positional part of the game, emotional control, the demeanour in the net [and] can they make the timely save when their team needs it?” said Schwartz.
“Can they come into the net when they’re not starting the game? Not only necessarily the puck-stopping stuff all the time but the mental side of the game, which is really important, especially transitioning to whatever level they’re going to, and then obviously we’ll look at the technical side and make a few notes and hopefully give them some things to take away.”
Oilers General Manager Peter Chiarelli said he has been pleased with how the events of the camp have unfolded.
“I think this is a good developmental tool, it does a couple of things that I see are significant,” he said. “It does bring all the prospects under the same umbrella for a good period of time where we can instil in them some principles and some skills and some kind of overriding philosophies we have as an organization.”
Chiarelli said he looks forward to tonight’s match-up to see each prospect performing together in more of a contested atmosphere.
“It’s not used as an evaluation tool but it will be nice to see a scrimmage,” he said.
The GM added he enjoyed what the surroundings the town of Jasper has to offer and also sees Orientation Camp as a benefit for the coaching staff as well.
“It brings all our coaches together…and they’re able to refresh and talk about a plan going forward,” said Chiarelli. “And it’s bit of a wrap-up organizationally, everyone’s together under the same roof where we can talk about what we see on the ice…and how we’re going to plan going forward. It’s a great facility and a great area, it’s my first time, the people are really friendly and all the facilities are great and I think it’s been a pretty productive few days.”
The hour-long game will see the prospects play five-on-five for 30 minutes, then four-on-four for 30 minutes, followed by a shootout.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said goaltending prospect Nick Ellis. “I’m looking forward to it tonight.”