The 2018 Calgary Mustangs Spring camp is in the books. After adjusting to the environment Friday and Saturday, the players ramped things up and made sure to go out with a bang as they closed out the weekend with the big top 40 game finale.
The monumental tragedy involving the Humboldt Broncos has everyone at the Shouldice Arena thinking of life away from the rink. It has touched every Junior hockey prospect, player, coach, manager, volunteer and broadcaster in the hockey world. We can all relate to being on a bus like that. On behalf of the Calgary Mustangs, we send our deepest condolences to Saskatchewan, and to the hundreds of lives effected by this tragedy.
This weekend was an escape from the real world, and the level of hockey played at this year’s Spring Camp has pleased the coaching staff. Hard fast games were a consistent sight, with over 120 players vying for a roster spot come September. Center Joel Krahenbil of the Bow Mark Oilers in Okotoks said he really enjoyed the experience and how it has helped his development after the Top 40 game.
“I’ve really enjoyed camp, it was lots of fun when everyone was going and we were winning. I feel like I’ve gotten better, a little tired but I was at a good game pace. I’m from around here so I had lots of friends telling me what an organization this is and that to go [to the Mustangs’ camp], it’s a lot of fun.”
The game was high paced, almost playoff like, with little room to maneuver and some real shut down hockey. Krahenbil was one of the standouts, but not the only one as Team Blue goalie Aaron De Kok made 2 unreal saves to keep the game tight. Other standouts on Team Blue included defenseman Travis Szafron, who seemed to get better every shift, big forward Spencer Yanke, who was a presence all weekend, and the CRAA line of Jack Karpyshyn, Cole Svenson and Michael Hagen, who made sure that win or lose they were going to go hard every shift. Team White standouts included defender Hale Schoneck, one of the youngest players at camp, and Krahenbil’s linemates Isaac Benoit and Jack Kobelka, also from the Oilers. Kyle Fortch, a scout with the team and coach of Team Blue for the top 40 game and Team Grey this past weekend, was pleased with the overall play in the Top 40 Prospects Game.
“I think there was pressure on both sides to play well and smart. There wasn’t a lot of selfish plays, there was lots of talk and communication on the bench. You could see how happy they were to be there.”
“The intensity at the Top 40 Game was the peak of the weekend, it gave the guys a taste of what AJHL hockey is every night. The compete level of both sides was there, both sides wanted to go out and win.”
Mustangs’ Head Coach and General Manager Tyler Drader wrapped up the camp with lots of positivity, but still has plenty of time before he submits his 2018-2019 roster.
“We had a lot of good players and the compete level was high. We’re looking forward to doing some more evaluation at our camps in May and June. There will many players pushing for spots, and we’ll have some tough decisions to make.”
There’s no doubt that the 2018 edition of Mustangs Spring Camp was a success, with players from across Alberta and the U.S. competing for spots in the AJHL next fall. This was the first of many scouting opportunities for the Stangs’ brass, but not the last, as they trying to build on a promising 2017-2018 season. Be sure to stay tuned for more details of the upcoming camps in late May and June.
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