Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
July 6, 2015, Shawnigan Lake, BC (ISN) – Close to 30 young hockey players hit the ice at Shawnigan Lake School on Monday morning, hoping to impress Vancouver Canucks Head Coach Willie Desjardins and his coaching staff, as the first on-ice session of the Canucks 2015 Development Camp got underway.
Forward Lukas Jasek (blue) evades the pressure from defenceman Ben Hutton (white) during this wrap-around attempt on goaltender Clay Witt (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Chief among the 29 prospects was 2015 first-round draft pick Brock Boeser (Waterloo, USHL), 2014 sixth overall pick Jake Virtannen (Calgary Hitmen, WHL), as well as goaltender Jackson Whistle (Kelowna, WHL), fresh from his WHL Championship and Memorial Cup appearance. Also of note was defenceman Jordan Subban (Belleville, OHL), a 2013 draft pick and brother of the Montreal Canadiens PK Subban.
2015 Canucks first round draft pick Brock Boeser prepares to fire a shot during the first on-ice session at Development Camp Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Making an appearance between the pipes along with Whistle, was former Victoria Grizzlies goaltender Matt Ginn (Holy Cross, NCAA), who had a successful season with Holy Cross and played seven games in the ECHL with the Florida Everblades. Also of note was 6’9″ goaltender John McLean (Gustavus Adolphus, NCAA Div II).
Former Victoria Grizzlies goalie Matt Ginn (2010-2011) is one of five goaltenders in the 2015 Canucks Development Camp (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Of the 29 players in the camp – 12 forwards, 12 defenceman and five goalies – 18 are either drafted or signed by the Canucks. This includes all seven of the Canucks 2015 draft picks: Boeser, Guillaume Brisebois (Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL), Adam Gaudette (Cedar Rapids, USHL), Lukas Jasek (Trinec, CZECH), Carl Neill (Sherbrooke, QMJHL), Tate Olson (Prince George, WHL) and Dmitry Zhukenov (Omskie, MHL).
Team Blue forward Matthew Lane looks to find a way around Team White defenceman Carl Neill (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
A number of players have been to this camp in the past including four time attendees Ben Hutton (Maine, NCAA) and Evan McEneny (Kingston, OHL). This will be the third camp for Cole Cassels (Oshawa, OHL), Anton Cederholm (Portland, WHL) and Subban.
2014 sixth overall draft pick Jake Virtannen firs a shot during warm-ups on Monday morning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The first session of the camp drew a good crowd to the Shawnigan Lake hockey facility, opened just this past February at a cost of $8 million. The facility supports the Shawnigan Lake Hockey Academy, a blossoming program that will see the school ice three teams this coming season, two at the midget age group (15-17) and one at the bantam level (13-14).
Team White forward Dmitry Zhukenov looks for a way past Team Blue defenceman Matthew Caito during a one-on-one drill on Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
They watched eagerly as players were put through a series of drills that tested their skills and speed, puck handling abilities and their ability to battle, both one-on-one and in small group situations.
Team Blue’s John Stevens eludes pressure from Team White’s Jake Virtannen in front of goaltender Jackson Whistle (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Fans were also pleased to see Canucks General Manager Trevor Linden in the crowd, seeking him out for autograph opportunities when the chance arose.
Canucks GM Trevor Linden signs an autograph for a young fan (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Development Camp continues with additional sessions on Tuesday morning from 10:00 to 11:00 am, as well as a second session from 11:15 am to 12:30 pm. A three-on-three tournament will then begin at 5:10 pm. Wednesday sees one more opportunity for players to impress with a session from 8:30 to 11 am.
Defenceman Anton Cedarholm goes through the paces during one of the many drills at the 2015 Canucks Development Camp (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
A handful of players will then be invited to the Canucks main camp in September which will be held in Prince George and some may be in the line-up when the Canucks and th San Jose Sharks travel to Victoria to play in the Kraft Hockeyville pre-season game at The Q Centre on September 21st.