SOMERSET, Wisc. – In preparation for the upcoming NAHL draft, the Topeka RoadRunners had an opportunity to watch more than 130 skaters and goalies; all trying to impress the RoadRunners staff of coaches and scouts assembled at Somerset Ice Arena over the Memorial Day weekend.
After four days of grueling goaltending workouts and games, Topeka head coach Josh Kamrass thought the camp was highly successful.
“Our numbers (attendees) were up, and it was extremely competitive,” said Kamrass. “Our whole staff, from management to scouts, was there and interacting with the players as the weekend went along. The feedback we received at the end of camp was very encouraging.”
RoadRunners GM Joe Clark, who also manages the stable of goaltenders for the RoadRunners, said the pace of camp was unexpectedly high.
“These kids and their parents come here and expect certain things,” said Clark. “We want show our attendees the level of professionalism our franchise expects out of its staff of coaches and scouts, and I think we got that across very well. Our guys were directly involved on the bench, and the communication between players and coaches was obvious.”
Kamrass, along with Clark, Director of Players/Personnel Tim Christian, assistant coach Vinny Bohn, Atlanta Capitals Head Coach Dennis Canfield and a host of guest coaches, managed eight teams and more than 20 goaltenders. The camp attendees were eventually narrowed down to 2 teams going head-to-head in the All-Star game on Memorial Day.
“Some of the players at the camp we could very well see in Topeka when the season starts,” said Christian. “It was a great opportunity for us to start tracking the younger players who might be a year or two away, and that’s something we’ll spend the upcoming winter doing. Even the kids who didn’t make the All-Star game will be tracked. It’s a long process, but something that needs to be done to be an elite team in the NAHL’s South Division.”
The RoadRunners will now focus on their final open camp, which will be held July 7-10 in Chicago. The Chicago camp will also include returning RoadRunners from this past season’s team.
“It will be a tremendous measuring stick for some of the players new to this level,” said Kamrass, referring to the veterans attending the camp next month. “That’s something that’s critical in our evaluation process. Chicago is very revealing, and we can’t wait.”