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Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Mustangs Wrap Up Camp

By Michael Oleksyn - Melfort Journal, 09/03/13, 1:15PM CST

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Veterans pleased with the pace

The Melfort Mustangs got ready for their 2013-2014 season with their main camp at the Northern Lights Palace from August 30 to September 1.

The team has many spots open to competition and had excellent depth of talent in camp according to the coaching staff.

“We were able to see some good young players, considering our ages ran from 15-years-old and up, it was good opportunity to see some young guys. There was definitely some nice surprises,” Mustangs’ coach Gavin Holcomb said.

Holcomb explained that he thought this was the best fall camp of his three-year tenure.

“It was good, it ran really smooth, it was probably the best one since I have been here, it went well and we were happy with it,” he explained.

Entering the preseason schedule the team has narrowed to a roster of 30 players with decisions still to be made. Holcomb’s philosophy is that the roster is not truly settled until the January 10 trade deadline.

Veteran players were also impressed by the depth and competition at the camp.  

There were five on ice sessions over the three days, along with players and coaches meetings leading to the annual intrasquad game.

“There was lots of good young guys, good to see lots of young guys, the guys that came were well prepared,” second year Mustangs’ forward Regan Wilton said.

“Everybody here is a good hockey player or else they wouldn’t be in the camp,” Wilton added.

Holcomb is also looking to the second-year players, such as Wilton, Sheldon Argent and Jay Aasen to provide leadership.

“I know they are pretty excited and fired up and we will see how the next couple of weeks go,” Holcomb said.

Wilton also recognized his changing role in his second training camp as a Mustang.

“We talk a little more to the young guys and try to give them advice a little bit on everything and you try to help them out as much as you can and be there and be a leader on the ice and off the ice and try to teach them the ropes a little bit,”

There were five on ice sessions over the three days, along with players and coaches meetings leading to the annual intrasquad game.

The team lost a few important players from last season to retirement over the summer including defensemen Cody Brown and Zach Walker and forward Jarrett Zentner. According to Holcomb this served to open up competition at the camp and in the preseason. 

Along with the graduation of forwards Godric Tham and Logan Sceviour, goaltender Jesse Wilkins and defenseman Brandon Parrone this leaves some more spots open to competition. 

“There are definitely some holes to fill there. There is a lot of good young talent that we got to see. There is going to be a learning process. The next few weeks and exhibition games will really tell, we will have some tough decisions to make. At the same time we will see who keeps improving their game, a lot of time s that works itself out,”

This is also an opportunity for the young players to show their abilities.

“It’s an opportunity for other guys for sure and we’ll see who steps up and takes advantage of it,” Holcomb said.

In the intrasquad game Team Green defeated Team Grey 6-5 in an exciting end to the camp on Sunday, September 1.

The Mustangs open their exhibition schedule at the La Ronge Ice Wolves on Friday, August 6. They host the Ice Wolves on Saturday, August 7; game time is 7:30 at the Northern Lights Palace.