RDC Queens head coach Rob Weddell knows the more he can sell the program the more chance he has of propelling the team back to the top of the Alberta Colleges Women’s Hockey League
He took a step in that direction Thursday when he had 14 prospects on hand for a one-day camp at the Arena.
“It’s a chance to showcase our facility and program,” he said. “We have a nice setup here and our girls are great ambassadors of the program.
“We don’t want a big camp and this was about right. We get a chance to see everyone and see how they match up against some of our top players. For example how they may stack up against Montanna Noyes, who is an excellent skater, or see their passing and puck control.”
But Weddell realizes that watching them at a camp and in a game is a different story.
“As far as evaluating them you have to see them in a game,” he said. “But also when you run them through some drills you get a chance to see their weaknesses.”
Weddell was impressed with what he saw.
Eight of the girls were from the Swift Current midget AAA program, but only seven were on the ice. Kali Jamieson, who is tied for third in team scoring, couldn’t participate because of an injury.
The other girls from Swift Current were forwards Taryn Stock, who is the team scoring leader, Kelsey Mastel, Megan French, Jena Holden and Mariah Moen and defencemen Megan Jones and Kayla Hawkins.
“We have two former players from Swift Current (defenceman Kim Day and forward Brittany Erlandson) and have a good relationship with their coach,” said Weddell, who indicated he could almost fill his team with players from Saskatchewan.
“I wish we had more scholarship money as I could offer a bit more to the Saskatchewan girls,” he said. “They don’t have college teams in Saskatchewan, so Alberta is a good place for them.”
Three of the Alberta girls came from the Spruce Grove Saints — forwards Jayna Kitchen, Gillian Althiem and Regan Gustafson. They are three of the top four scorers on the team with Kitchen leading the way with nine goals and three assists in 20 games.
Jazmyn Wright of Lloydminster, who is second in team scoring, and Kelly-Anne Roberts of Sherwood Park were also on hand,. Both play forward and defence.
“All the girls had something that impressed me,” said Weddell, who started running winter camps last year.
“We used to run a spring camp, but it always seemed to be the wrong time of the year. Last year we held one in January and one in March. This year we made a switch to December and we’ll likely hold another in February.”
The only players who didn’t attend the camp were from Red Deer and Edmonton, who are the top two teams in the Alberta Major Midget Female Hockey League, and play each other Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at the Kin City Arena B.
“Neither coach wanted their girls to come so close Saturday and I can see that,” said Weddell, who has had positive response from both Red Deer and Edmonton.
The Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs have only four graduating players in team scoring leader Janelle Froehler, who has five goals and 22 assists in 21 games, defencemen Morgan Brandl and Cassidy Anderson and netminder Camille Trautman, who has a 1.54 goals-against-average, a .928 save percentage and two shutouts in 13 games.
“There’s been some interest from all of them and I would love to see them here as my preference is to take local players,” said Weddell, who will be looking to add up to 12 players next season.