In his second time at Red Deer Rebels Training Camp, Lethbridge forward D-Jay Jerome wants to be more than a player.
The 16-year-old didn’t make the lineup last year and was sent to his midget team after a couple of preseason games.
“I’m supposed to be much better than last year and go a lot farther in preseason,” said Jerome of his expectations. “I’m supposed to be more of a player in the preseason. Last year I was there to just play in the preseason. This year I’m here to make the team.”
To prepare for training camp, which opened on Wednesday, and hopefully a place on the Rebels roster, Jerome spent just about every day of the summer on the ice.
“I love it out there on the ice,” said Jerome. “I bulked up for the start of the summer and then the second half of the summer was all about speed and agility. I wanted to make sure I was prepared to go and go and go.”
The trip back to midget last season may have done some good for Jerome’s development as he averaged slightly more than a point a game 35 points (15g, 20a) in 34 games with the Lethbridge Midget AAA Hurricanes.
He sees himself as a skilled forward and wants to get some work with the special teams units.
“I’ve always been more of a skilled guy,” he said.
“I want to work my way onto a power play unit and be a second or third line guy eventually. Just have to get there.”
He turns 17 in November and is not draft eligible until the 2018 NHL draft.
On Saturday, the Rebels main camp had their first scrimmage. Goals were at a premium as after two 25 minute periods, no one had scored. They went to a five minute three-on-three overtime period where import forward Michael Spacek sniped the scrimmage’s lone goal. A shootout was afterward.
Rookie camp opened on Sunday with 40 players in camp.
Both camps resume today with rookies scrimmaging from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and 3 to 4:30 p.m. The main camp will practice from 8 to 8:45 a.m., 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. and from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Enmax Centrium.