By Ryan McCracken on April 14, 2018.
Medicine Hat Tigers bench boss and general manager Shaun Clouston will get a firsthand look at the next wave of American talent as a coach at the WHL’s U.S. Prospects Camp in Anaheim this weekend.
The Tigers have a strong history of bringing in high-level American players like Texan Max Gerlach or Californians Emerson Etem and Steven Owre, and Clouston says this event is important in identifying promising young prospects ahead of the WHL bantam draft in May.
“It’s a very important part of what we do. Hockey is a global sport and the U.S. — with the population and the current popularity of the game — has so many good players. There will be players from Dallas, Texas all the way up to Alaska,” said Clouston. “Most years there’s 15 to 20 kids drafted out of the 80 players that are here so it’s an important event.”
Clouston coached Medicine Hat to back-to-back Central Division banners to reach the playoffs this year for the seventh time in his eight-year tenure as head coach of the Tigers. The Viking, Alta. product and former WHLer went on to set a new franchise record for career coaching wins when he passed former head coach Willie Desjardin’s mark of 323 in December.
Clouston will be joined by Spokane Chiefs head coach Dan Lambert, Kamloops Blazers assistant coach Mike Needham and Seattle Thunderbirds head coach Matt O’Dette at the U.S. Prospects Camp, which will feature four teams in a condensed round-robin tournament. Players will also have the opportunity to take part in a WHL combine as well as information sessions and a nutrition seminar.
“They do some testing on the ice and some testing off the ice,” said Clouston. “Each of the four teams will run a practice and then there’s three games.”
The camp runs Saturday through Monday at the Anaheim Ice Facility.
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