The way the Silverbacks are recruiting talented hockey players to fill their bench is changing, but the spring camp held last weekend at the Shaw Centre remains a part of the process.
Head coach Scott Atkinson said the team has made major improvements on the ice in recent years, but what may be less apparent to the fans in the stands are the ways things have changed off the ice.
The Silverbacks have done away with recruitment camps they once held in Colorado and California. According to Atkinson, in previous years, the spring camp and the American camps were the extent of the team’s recruiting efforts. He said recruiting is becoming more focused, with a well connected scouting and recruitment team getting access to some of the best young hockey players in North America.
Although attempts to recruit talented players branch out in all directions, Atkinson said the Silverbacks still covet players from the B.C. Interior.
Atkinson said he is pleased with the way the team progressed this past season. The Silverbacks were eliminated in an extremely close first-round playoff series against the Vernon Vipers, who went on to be defeated in the league finals.
He also said he is happy with how the weekend’s camp went.
Approximately 150 players showed their skills at the camp held at the Shaw Centre on April 27 and 28. Players came from all over B.C. and Alberta and from as far away as Colorado, Arizona and Massachusetts. The interest from south of the border comes as no surprise to Atkinson who said the BCHL is a sought-after league for players trying to land an NCAA hockey scholarship.
Another aspect of the Silverbacks organization that has developed under Atkinson is their involvement with minor hockey in Salmon Arm. The head coach said local development is also a part of the Silverbacks’ plans going forward. Salmon Arm’s minor hockey teams all wore Silverbacks colour this season and Atkinson has been helping out with coaching them.
He said Salmon Arm has some great minor hockey players and he thinks by keeping them on the right track the ‘Backs will be able to have a larger component of their roster made up of local players while being a force in the division.