Early Start for Generals Team

Parksville-Qualicum News

July 6, 2007

GENS HEAD COACH Dave Johnston, left, and Henry Acres, scrutinize the troops during the club’s annual camp at Oceanside Place last weekend.

By JAMES CLARKE

Photo by James ClarkePhoto by James Clarke“It feels good to be back. Baseball doesn’t exist now — it’s hockey time,” longtime dedicated equipment manager Andrew Piercy said, absolutely beaming as he stepped out onto the ice.

The Oceanside Generals Junior B Hockey Club held its annual spring evaluation camp in Parksville recently, but their was a different feel to it this year. “We’ve got 45 kids out — probably about 15 locals,” returning head coach and GM Dave Johnston said. “I’ve taken a different approach to this camp,” explained Johnston. “We’re here to sign some kids. It’s not all about the youngsters this year, it’s an older group for sure.”

Also on the ice to keep the level up where it should be, were a number of returning Generals like home-grown Mark Mchattie, Scott Fraser, Cole Motz and Taylor Morgan. Local standout and former Gens’ captain Matt Potter was also in the mix, getting in some ice time in preparation for his upcoming Junior A season with the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings.

As for the Gens’ committed skipper, Johnston is heading into his third season behind the bench of the local club — he also coached the Gens back in ‘96-’97 — and ninth year in the VIJHL. Jason Dubyna and Dean Henderson are back as assistant coaches, joined this year by Campbell River Storm alumni Shane Williamson.

Back home for the summer and a key component to the camp was Henry Acres, he of the overseas playing and coaching career, and the popular local hockey school for kids that bears his name. “I think this is my third or fourth year (helping run the camp); I love it,” the easy going hardcore puckster said easily, his attention clearly on the players. “This is the age group I wanna be working with.”

“Oh yeah — that and a whole lot more,” Johnston said when asked if the camp accomplished what he’d hoped. “We ended up coming out of there with five kids signed (no locals).

“It puts us way ahead of where we were last year, and we really feel we’re ahead of the competition — I mean we’re going into August with our team pretty much in place.” Which means while the Generals will be holding their main camp Aug. 17 to 19 back at Oceanside Place, there may not be many spots up for grabs. That Johnston will have 12 returning players back this season speaks volumes about the local club.

As for the spring camp, “it was exceptional,” said Johnston, adding, “you might sign one guy out of a rookie camp, but to sign five is pretty much unheard of.” While it’s still early, Johnston said it looks like this year’s squad will be a bit bigger, “but we’ll play a similar style — physical, in your face with a real high skill level.”

Two local forwards that impressed were Brady Thomas and Kyle Kramer. Kramer was the only 15-year-old invited back. (Both AHT participants)

For more information on the Generals go to http://www.parksvillegenerals.org.