Some 30-plus players descended on Riverside Ice Town this year for the Reign’s two-day open tryout camp. The crop might not have been as large or deep as years past, but it did attract one camper from Korea and another from Saskatoon.
“Everyone’s in there with the right attitude,” coach Karl Taylor said. “They’re trying to use it as a gauge to see how far they are away from trying to play hockey and make a few bucks doing it. It gives them a good experience.”
Here’s what else Taylor had to say:
“It was good for the guys. They get a feel for what I want and what I expect. Even if some of the guys don’t come [to the main camp starting Friday], they get some instruction from me. Hopefully that was an opportunity for them to get coaching they haven’t had before. They learned they way I like to have things done. It was a little challenging for me at times because it’s not your group. You have to dial it down a bit.”
Talk about the range of skill levels.
“Some guys that were there, I would classify as beginner status. Some guys had played the before … It’s interesting to see the wide breadth. That’s what you have to do with those open tryouts. Keep it balanced, so everyone knows not to get hurt.”
Did anyone get hurt?
“Not to my knowledge.”
Are you going to be able to stick to your plan of bringing in a few of the guys to have extra bodies in camp?
“We’ll see. I’m not sure yet.”
Did you see anyone out there who would be able to step in and keep pace with your practices?
“There’s nobody out there that’s going to do that. Our guys are coming in, they’ve played hockey for 20 years. They’re professional athletes who have trained extensively. They’re not going to keep up, it’s just not going to happen. … It is what it is. Maybe some guys will get an extended look.”
With the ECHL down to 19 teams, there’s probably a few more free agents floating around, right?
True, but most of our guys come from the local area. It’s based on the local area for the most part. That’s true, what you said, but I don’t think it affects our tryouts.