Cents Need Billets, Training Camp Preview:

With training camp starting Monday, the Cents continue to plan for the upcoming season. The team held a billet information meeting tonight at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. I did an interview with Cents co-billet coordinator Andrea Barnes on my morning show today and although the meeting was earlier, there is still some good info about billeting in the interview. So consider having a Cents player stay at your home this season!

Cents Co-Billet Coordinator Andrea Barnes

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I also chatted with Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce ahead of camp.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce

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Ian Webster wrote an awesome preview of training camp in this week’s Merritt Herald:

Cents’ training camp opens Monday

By Ian Webster – Merritt Herald
Published: August 17, 2010 6:00 PM

With the beginning of another Merritt Centennials’ training camp just days away, excitement in this hockey-mad community is rapidly building.

In excess of 100 players are expected to descend upon the Nicola Valley over the weekend in anticipation of Monday morning registration, and on-ice scrimmages starting in the afternoon.

Cents’ head coach and GM Luke Pierce states that his phone has been ringing off the hook in recent days.

“It’s been crazy,” says Pierce. “I’ve been getting calls from all over the continent from players looking to get an invite to camp.”

Pierce, along with assistant coach Chad DeLeeuw, have been busy organizing the five-day camp which runs until Friday, August 27 at noon at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, and will officially wrap up with the annual intrasquad game that evening at 6:30 p.m.

Approximately 90 rookies will be put through their paces on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of training camp. They will be divided into six teams, with 75-minute games running almost continuously over the opening three days. There will also be a goaltending session at 6:15 p.m. on Monday, followed by a parent meeting in the arena mezzanine at 7:45 p.m.

After a preliminary round of cuts Wednesday afternoon, the fifteen or so Cents’ veterans and off-season acquisitions will join the mix, and all remaining players will be reconfigured into four teams that will scrimmage throughout Thursday and into Friday morning. Another round of cuts will take place Friday afternoon.

Pierce hopes to have approximately 40 players participate in the intrasquad game Friday evening, and then trim that number down to about 30-32 for the team’s quartet of pre-season games beginning on August 29 in Salmon Arm.

Returning players that Cents’ fans can expect to see at camp include forwards Dustin Johnson, Jeff Jones, David Sabey, Steven Wall, Silvan Harper, Sam Gemmell and Alex MacMillan, along with defensemen Steve Tresierra, Jeff Zmurchyk, Kameran Crawford and Austin Baecker.

Last year’s youthful netminders Cole Holowenko and Keith Hamilton are also expected to put in an appearance at training camp, but both will depart somewhat prematurely for WHL camps in Chiliwack and Portland, Oregon respectively.

Rounding out the veteran core will be summer signings Jared Anderson, a 20-year-old goalie from the Grande Prairie Storm of the AJHL, and 18-year-old Jakob Reichert, a much-heralded 6’3” forward who spent last season with the Revelstoke Grizzlies.

Almost a dozen goalies, along with 24 defensemen and 54 forwards make up the ranks of the rookies vying for coveted spots on this year’s Merritt Centennials team. They are coming from as far east as Manitoba and Minnesota, as far south as Dallas, Texas, and as far north as Alaska.

There will be a strong contingent of local talent on hand, too, including Daylan Robertson, Cole Fex, Eric Schmidt, Brendan Colter, Mike Desimone, Russell Sanderson and Payton Schaefer – all of whom played on the Merritt midget AA team that made it to provincials last season.

Other players with a Merritt connection who will be in camp include Briar McNaney, who played last year in the KIJHL, Tye Moses, River Lafferty, and Jordan Paddock. The latter makes his way back to British Columbia from Regina, Saskatchewan after playing for the Merritt bantam reps back in 2007-8.

With so many bodies at training camp, Pierce and DeLeeuw will be getting some much-needed assistance when it comes to scouting and evaluation.

“We’ll have several Junior B coaches on hand,” states Pierce, “including Rylan Ferster (Revelstoke), Dale Hladun (Princeton), Steve Junker (Castlegar), and Tyler Lebow (Kamloops). As well, Maury Grant [Cents’ assistant coach last year] will be here.”

Pierce says that the process of narrowing down the numbers, and identifying the key players who can help the Centennials this year and into the future is a complex one.

“We’ve made it clear that overall, as a team, we want to get younger. That said, we still want to field the most competitive team possible every season. Presently, we have a target range of how many players we would like to have from each age group/birth year, but we’re certainly not going to pass on a talented player, no matter what age.”

High priorities for Pierce and his coaching staff are first and foremost work ethic along with character.

“We want players who are willing to play hard every shift, and are fundamentally good people. They will make a meaningful contribution to the team and to the community.”

Merritt News reporter Robin Poon also previewed camp in this week’s paper:

Cents filling out new roster next week
August 19,2010

Robin Poon
News Reporter

The Merritt Centennials training camp kicks off next Monday, beginning a weeklong series of scrimmages that will determine the makeup of this season’s roster.

After registration Monday morning, about 90 rookies from throughout Canada and the United States will be assigned to six teams that will start playing the same afternoon.

Initial cuts will be made on Wednesday afternoon.

In the second part of the camp, Cents veterans and other recruits will join the remaining rookies in four teams.

By Friday evening, Cents head coach and general manager Luke Pierce plans to have 40 players on the ice for the camp’s final intra-squad game.

Following the game, the Cents will have a roster of about 30 players for the team’s exhibition matches against Salmon Arm, which start Aug. 29.

Among the Cents returning from last season is Steve Tresierra, who has been promoted to team captain, succeeding Jordan Soquila.

Tresierra was alternate captain in 2009-10.

Soquila is moving on after two seasons with the Centennials. He has been recruited to play with the Queen’s University Gaels in Kingston, Ont.

Cents goalies Cole Holowenko and Keith Hamilton are also moving on to WHL camps.

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