The Lloydminster Bobcats hosted the team’s first ever summer combine this past weekend in Cremona, Alberta, at the Lions Youth Camp located 50 kilometres Northwest of Calgary. 52 returning and prospective players participated in the weekend-long combine camp, which featured fitness testing, scrimmages, and several team building activities throughout the weekend.
Players were put through various fitness testing activities on Saturday morning to benchmark off-season training efforts leading into main camp. After fitness testing was complete, players headed to the nearby town of Cochrane, where they participated in a three-team mini tournament in front of Bobcats coaches and scouts.
The team’s coaching staff was impressed with the team’s overall fitness level, and liked what they saw on the ice from returning and prospect players. “The kids showed up in great shape and showed very well on the ice,” said Barry Sawchuk, the team’s director of player personnel, adding that “there was good bonding between the vets and rookies, and I believe our scouting efforts are starting to show benefits as I was extremely impressed with the group of young players.” Scout Jason Wiwad reiterated Barry’s comments, “there is a great group of young prospects that pushed the pace all weekend and a very solid veteran core that will provide guidance and leadership.”
Coach VanHereweghe was happy with what he saw out of his players. “The overall fitness level of most of the veteran players expected to return to our line-up was fairly impressive. On the other hand, it’s important that all returning players come to main camp well-conditioned and ready to compete, while also providing character and leadership for the younger prospects who make our team,” said the head coach. “All in all I was very satisfied with the competitiveness of the camp and feel our players will be prepared to compete for a spot on this team come main camp.”
Getting a taste of some on-ice action in the middle of summer seemed to get players excited for the start of the season on September 6th. “The weekend gave everyone a bigger reason to be excited for the season to start,” said returning local defenceman Linden Springer. “This weekend got me pumped up; now I can’t wait for the season to get here,” added prospect Lukas Biensch.
Players will now return to their respective off-season training regimes for six more weeks before reporting to the team’s main camp on August 22nd. The team’s season is set to start at home on Friday, September 6th against the visiting Bonnyville Pontiacs. Season tickets can still be purchased by contacting the Bobcats office at 780.871.0900.