Coming off a season where they rebounded in a big way during the second half, the Midget AAA Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs are ready to get an early start on next year.
The Chiefs will host a player ID Camp this weekend at the Collicutt Centre designed to identify prospective talent for the upcoming season.
“Because we have open borders, we can actually recruit from anywhere in the province,” head coach Bob Rutz said.
“So, it just gives some girls that have some midget eligibility left or going into midget, a chance to see what our program is about and get on the ice.
“It gives us a chance to evaluate some talent that maybe we didn’t get to see throughout the year… gives us a pretty good gauge on who’s ready to play right now and who might be ready to play in the future.”
Rutz said as of earlier this week, the team had 21 forwards, 11 defence and three goalies committed to the camp.
“We’re looking for not only good players, but good people as well,” he said.
“There’s 10 forward spots open, four defence and a goalie as well. We need lots of players and in order for us to compete against some of these super teams, we’re looking for those experienced players that can step in and play. We’re in decent shape in terms of numbers.”
On Saturday morning, the players will run through specific skills session by Erik Lodge, something that the team does throughout the year and Rutz noted is a huge point of emphasis for the program.
Beyond that the players will run through scrimmages on both days where the coaching staff will evaluate their play 5-on-5.
Rutz, who has been tabbed as an assistant coach to for the Team Alberta U18 squad, added that his coaching staff really tried to push their players to make the jump to the university or college level, which showed by the eight commits the team had on the roster last season.
“We work extremely hard and our assistant coach Brett Wold deserves a lot of credit for it,” Rutz said.
“We work extremely hard to get these girls into post-secondary schools… we’ll really advocate with some of the post-secondary schools to help them get into the program they want and the hockey program they want to let them play hockey for a few more years.”
Check in for the ID Camp is at the Collicutt Centre from 9:30-1030 a.m. on May 21.
Players looking for more information about the program can contact Rutz at or register for the ID Camp at https://www.reddeerminorhockey.com/content/registrations.