A successful campaign in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League can’t be determined overnight.
However, following this weekend’s camp at the Kinsmen Arena and the Art Hauser Centre, new Prince Albert Mintos head coach Danton Danielson is excited about how the 2019-20 roster is looking.
“You can’t win anything on paper but I really like how things are shaping up for next year at this point,” Danielson said.
“We had eight full teams at our camp this weekend and I think it was one of the most impressive ones around the province so far when it comes to the overall depth of the camp.”
Coming into next season, there will be at least four new players on the Mintos roster as forward Gavin Ingram and Andrew Schaab are aging out of the midget ranks, along with blueliner Jake Huska and goaltender Carter Woodside.
“I think that added to the competiveness at the camp as the players knew that there were legitimate shots at making the team,” Danielson said.
“Not only did we have players from across the province, but we had a few more older players than you might see at a camp like this. We did have a number of players who were coming out of bantam as well, but I would say that the age range was more on the older end of the scale.”
Although the Mintos have made some commitments to players following this weekend, their full roster won’t be decided until after their fall camp, as they wait to see what happens to their returning players.
Defencemen Alex Ozar and Marek Schneider are eligible to return to the team, along with forwards Gabe Klassen, Cohner Saleski, Chase Bertholet, Ashton Ferster and Dawston Springer, but they have all signed contracts with Western Hockey League teams.
“With the guys who have their rights held by WHL and SJHL (Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League) teams, you really don’t know what their status will be until their seasons get underway,” Danielson said. “Once we get closer to fall camp, I think we’ll have a better idea of who will be coming back.”
This weekend’s camp also marked Danielson’s first major event with the Mintos since he was hired in March, as he finished out his coaching duties with the Saskatoon Outlaws Bantam AA program.
“It’s been a good transition so far,” Danielson said. “It was a bit of a whirlwind at times this weekend, but I’ve had a lot of support from the organization.
“Bryan Swystun, who was an assistant coach last year and will be back on the bench this season, has been a major help in this process and the scouting staff really made things easy when it came to getting ready for the weekend.”
Danielson also said that the rest of the Mintos’ coaching staff will be determined over the coming weeks.