May 20th, 2024

Cubs looking for future talent with annual spring camp

By JAMES TUBB on May 11, 2024.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Medicine Hat Cubs head coach and general manager Randy Wong addresses the first group of skaters in the opening ice time of their spring camp this weekend at the Hockey Hounds Arena.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

The Medicine Hat Cubs are back in action again with eyes on the future.

The Cubs kicked off their annual spring camp Friday with two ice times at the Hockey Hounds arena, with five more skates scheduled over Saturday and Sunday. The skate gives the Cubs an opportunity to get some eyes on future talent and is an exciting weekend head coach and general manager Randy Wong says.

“We’ve got some good guys coming to camp, we’re going to blend our guys from the last year into the camp as well,” Wong said. “I want to show the young guys what our guys look like so they’ve got all summer to kind of prove they need to get quicker, bigger and stronger than they have time to do that. It’s gonna be a good camp with our returning guys and a blend of the new guys.”

Wong estimates they’ll have around 40 players skating in the camp with a mix of returning players and potential new ones from AA programs in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The weekend camp is the first action the Cubs have had since they were eliminated in Game 4 of the third round of the HJHL playoffs by the Sylvan Lake Wranglers on March 10. It was the third straight season Medicine Hat has been in the playoffs and held the second spot in the South division.

Wong says that sustained success has helped when it comes to recruiting.

“You look at Junior B as a whole, it’s a tough recruit, you’ve got kids playing AAA and academy hockey that they want to play junior and we know they all can’t play,” Wong said. “We’re trying to provide a program they can go after Junior A camps have been done and they haven’t cut it, they can look at a good solid Junior B program. Maybe it’s only a one-year stop, but when we put our strong program together and give you a chance to develop, then hopefully they play Junior A the following year.

“That’s really what we’ve done and created and I think we’ve had good success with Saskatchewan and locally of keeping kids at home.”

Wong says they’ve told players the 2024-25 roster isn’t being built this weekend, nor are any players being cut following this camp. He says it’s just an opportunity for them to get eyes on players and give those skaters the knowledge of what will be expected to make the team in the fall.

Fans are welcome to watch the skates at the Hockey Hounds arena, with Saturday’s ice times scheduled for 9-11 a.m. and 3-5 p.m. On Sunday they’ll skate from 9-11:45 a.m. with a scrimmage in the afternoon from 3-5.

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