Rebels’ Main Camp Concludes At Arena
The conclusion of the final Red vs. Blue game of the weekend on Monday afternoon at Northwest Arena marked the official end of main camp for the Jamestown Rebels of the North American Hockey League.
Team officials began the weekend on Friday afternoon with more than 100 players hailing from across the country, slowly working their way down to a final pair of teams that took to the ice one last time in front of fans and family yesterday morning.
“It’s been a wonderful experience,” said Northwest Arena general manager Craig Hinderleider. “It’s been exciting to see where all these kids have come and traveled from into Jamestown. For the arena, we’re excited to have the new team here and really excited for the future. The Rebels have actually held three tryout camps, two of them were off-site before moving their main one here on this weekend. It’s definitely an elevated level of play and you’re going to see next season that a lot of these kids are going to move on to Division I colleges.”
There is no doubt that the grueling weekend schedule took a toll on those players in attendance, with more than a dozen games being played in addition to goalie-only sessions.
After watching his final two teams play to a 2-2 tie that was eventually taken into a shootout, head coach Joe Coombs made the short trip over to a boardroom alongside scouts and other coaches to begin the process of conducting interviews.
“Everything is good. We got all our stuff shipped up here. It arrived Thursday night, ninety percent of it,” said Coombs, standing inside his new team locker room, freshly painted in red and blue.
He added, “(I) thought (the intensity) went up and down. We had five fights the first day, which is quite a few to be honest with you, for today’s game. So I thought that day one the intensity was good. They really get tired as the weekend goes on. It’s a lot of hockey, so the kids get tired. The intensity can sort of go up and down..
“I did think that today’s game had good intensity and good pace. I’d liked to have seen maybe a few more plays being made, but at the same time a lot of guys out there have never been together. There’s really no coaching going on.”
For Coombs, the weekend began with taking a look at the roster options that the Rebels will have entering their first season in Jamestown.
NAHL teams have the ability to offer tenders to 10 players, protecting their rights for the coming season, in addition to adding bodies at the league draft and signing free agents.
“We tender kids. We can sign kids from Nov. 1 to like June 1. We get 10 tenders, so we sign 10 players the previous year for the following (year),” said Coombs. “We go through that process throughout the winter. Then we have our draft the first week of June, so you are drafting to 30 (total players). You have your returning players — let’s say is 10 — you tender 10 players, which is now 20, and then you protect 30 (total). Then you would draft 10, or different combinations, whatever you choose to do. So you come into this with 30 players that you think can play on your team, and then you have your 10 or 20 more players that you are recruiting as free agents. So you are basically looking at 50 or 60 kids to (try to) make your team.”
Hinderleider also mentioned that in his conversation with Ken Dennis, the owner of the Rebels, that the team still has prospective players from Europe who could come into the fold as the team takes shape.
“So there are a lot of different reasons, at these camps what you are trying to see,” said Coombs. “There’s a lot of future in it, here making our team. We’re leaving here being really happy with our goaltending, and our defense. The depth at forward. I still think we’re looking for some highly-skilled forwards, top six guys, but we feel we’re in pretty good shape for July 9.”