Vancan Outta The Blue


Wranglers camp day 2: key word ‘intensity’

Day 2 is in the books from Wranglers spring camp in 100 Mile House. The intensity, as many players I’ve spoken to have made mention of, has picked up. This has been reflected in tight scoring games where goalies have stood on their head and some players have made great individual efforts.

Reece Forman, a 100 Mile product who’s been playing Junior ‘A’ in Nipawin, Saskatchewan with the Hawks of the SJHL, says he’s here to not only get some ice time and grow as a person and player, but to be a role model for the kids. “I’m trying to keep the tempo up and show them the intensity it takes to be a junior hockey player.”

That doesn’t just go for the guys here who are at their first camp and in their first year midget. Veteran Wrangler d-man Kenny Nordstrom was absolutely gangbusters in his game yesterday, dominating with his puck possession and speed from the back end.

Asked if he’s playing up to their level, he says, “I’m playing up to their [Junior ‘A’ players] level easily I think. I’ve played for a couple years with some of those guys in major midget, like Jarvis, Harris, Forman a bit and Micky Turner. I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for, of course I want to play Junior ‘A’ but you never get your spot back here without giving 100%. You never know who’s going to be better than you, and so I expect it to get harder. Everyone’s tired but it’s going to get more chippy.”

Nordstrom, a Terrace native and 2011 bantam draft pick of the WHL Regina Pats, (10th round, 201st overall), says hes been bulking up in the gym since the playoffs ended in March.

Joshua Janzen, a Burns Lake Tier 4 player has some thoughts on big bodies.

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The Wranglers team bus parked outside the SCRC this weekend for show (Photo by Josh Hall)

He says they make this level, “a lot different from Tier 4.” Throw on top of that the great competition from a wide variety of players and Janzen’s first camp has been an exciting one.

He says, “the coaching’s been great,” and he sort of already had an idea how that would be going in because his brother Jaden Janzen was coached by Hladun for two seasons (2010-12) while in Princeton. What he took from Friday’s orientation with ‘Duner’ was that, “he’s going to be hard on us, no one gets off easy, everyone gets treated the same and he’ll be crazy hard on us if we don’t listen to what he says.”

The ’96’er was also very complimentary of the Wranglers players who are at camp stating, “It’s nice to see how they move the puck. They move it quick, nothing fancy, and get the puck on net. They’re tough on the stick and they crash the net.”

“I think I’ll be ready to step up if I get carded,” he continues.” I was following them all year because they were new, and the closest town with a Junior ‘B’ team, and it’s an amazing facility here too.”

Matt Fichter was next to step up to the mic. The ’97 says, “everyone’s calmed down a bit from the day one nerves. The rest of camp should be better.” Fichter missed on a penalty shot in one game but looked dangerous in other parts.

*Note: In games, they’ve been allowing penalty shots with a chaser as opposed to having a player sit two minutes.

Fichter played Tier 2 in Kamloops last season and says while junior is a whole other level from midget, spring camp is just a, “little bit higher competition. This makes sense considering the amount of midget players here yet to play more than a handful of games as an AP with a junior team.

“I really like the coach and have heard really good things.” The 16 year old played one game with the Chase Heat in December.

We spoke finally, at least player-wise, to Tyler Collens, who played major midget with the Thompson Blazers last season at just 15 years of age. He won’t turn 16 until August.

Believe it or not, this isn’t even his first KI camp, having attended the Sicamous Eagles’ camp two weeks ago. “The camps have been the same in terms of speed and intensity. It’s a big step from playing major midget last year. It’s more skilled, physical, overall just a step higher. I think right now I’m doing pretty good. I just have to keep it up and be consistent.”

When asked about what would happen if he was carded, he says, “I’d have to think about it.”

Finally, we got back around to the head coach Dale ‘Duner’ Hladun.

“I think it’s progressed because the kids are clearly getting more comfortable. There’s no dilly-dallying, and now that I’ve been barking at them a bit, the pace has picked up.”

The pace has picked up indeed but ‘Duner’ says, “I think the kids still have to lose some of their habits,like not paying attention or going to the wrong spots. That’s why I bark at them to get in the zone, its just something the young guys have to learn.”

With regards to the skills sessions, which stopped after Saturday’s morning games, “They’re about basic skills. I don’t care what fancy system you have, if you can’t pass 10 feet, we have a problem. Those are the types of core things we need to start with. It’s about skating, shooting, passing, and battles, and then we teach the game.”

I queried Hladun on which players have stood out for him and he divulged.

“I’ve liked the play of Prince George goalie Riley Druskin, Justin Bond [Williams Lake] has looked sharp, also a couple of Quesnel kids, and a couple guys who are just starting to grow on me.”

As for the some of the veterans on the ice, “Kenny’s good [referring to Nordstrom, Zimmerman looked good in the last session too. Sometimes guys don’t get it. They think ‘I played here last year, I’ll just come out and have fun at camp’ but these guys have come out and played hard so I’m happy.”

READ MORE: HARD-NOSED STYLE ‘MAKES ME WORK HARDER

READ MORE: WRANGLERS SPRING CAMP OPENS AT SCRC

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Wranglers camp day 1: Hard-nosed style ‘makes me work harder’
April 26, 2014, 09:48
Filed under: 100 Mile Wranglers, KIJHL | Tags: , , , ,

Day one is in the books at 100 Mile Wranglers spring camp.

In game 1, team red and team green finished deadlocked at three goals apiece, albeit playing a two period (21 minutes each) game. Game 2 featured teams Blue and Gold also tying 1-1. I caught up with a few of the players post-game 1 to talk about the competition level.

Cam Flinton, one of three players here from Notre Dame, Saskatchewan says, “I’ve been to some other camps and by far this is the most up-paced. The Coach pushed the pace in the kills sesh too so that was pretty good.”

The all around consensus is that Coach Dale Hladun’s style was totally appropriate.’Duner’ as he’s known, a 9 year KIJHL coaching veteran, was loud, boisterous, and hard-nosed during the opening skills session (practice).

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Game 1 between Green & Red which ended in a 3-3 tie (Photo by Josh Hall)

“I like that. It makes me work harder,” says Quesnel native Kyle Riley. He also says, “I felt normal,” out there, even after a bit of a break.

Riley was in 100 Mile House in March for the Midget Tier 3 Provincials where his team finished 3rd.

We also caught Dylan Haney of Notre Dame in the hallway following Game 1. He tells us their team won their Provincial tournament in Saskatchewan this past season.

That said, “you can tell a lot of seasons have ended so a lot of guys haven’t been on the ice but the pace was still pretty good.” Haney says he hadn’t done any prior research about Duner’ but that he, “seems intense, and I like that.”

Kyle Haugo, a 1998 born from Elkford says, “the coaching’s pretty good. I’ve practiced with him a few times this year.” Elkford (or Elk Valley) is near Fernie where Coach Hladun was behind the bench last season. Haugo says that’s how he got invited to this camp. He says, “It’s a little intimidating being a first year midget.”

Player-wise, we spoke lastly to veteran Wrangler Mathieu Longhurst, a Prince George native who turned 18 in January. He was optimistic about the season to come, which is still months and a main camp away.”

“During the skills, I felt like I was getting my legs back and hands back,” he says. “It’s going to be a good year for the Wranglers. There’s a lot of good talent out here.”

Prior to the opening skills session at 4 o’ clock, Coach Hladun held an orientation in the lobby of the South Cariboo Rec Centre. In the talk, he says he spoke about all of the players being Wranglers, “until you don’t make the team. So act accordingly,” he says.

“I told them to act well off the ice, make sure the dressing rooms are clean and no chewing tobacco, that kind of stuff, and there’s a no fight rule. I dont want passive guys though. By Sunday, it’ll be a little more intense. The first day of any camp, guys dont know each other and for some, it’s their first camp but by Sunday, they’ll be full of piss and vinegar.”

READ MORE: WRANGLERS SPRING CAMP OPENS AT SCRC

Bookmark 100MileWranglers.com and follow @100MHWranglers on Twitter for more updates throughout and following the weekend.

The remaining schedule will see teams Red and Gold participate in a skills session followed by a game at 9am Saturday. After that, teams Green and Blue will do the same thing beginning at 11am.

In the afternoon, beginning at 4pm, Green will play Blue and Gold will play Red with no skills session in between. We also expect to speak with a member of the BCHL Merritt Centennials coaching staff who’s here coaching one of the four teams.

Sunday morning at 9am and 11:30am will be two final all-star games.




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