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Coastal Tsunami prospects camp to hit the ice

Organizers are expecting four teams to play five games in Gibsons the first weekend in May — and fans are invited
Coastal Tsunami GM and head coach Brad Wingfield gives Crazy P his very own Coastal Tsunami jersey.

The first spring prospects camp for Coastal Tsunami is hitting Gibsons starting May 3. 

Over the weekend, four teams will play five games in a round-robin tournament format. Fans can watch up to 68 players test their mettle at the Gibsons & Area Community Centre. 

Director of player personnel Jeff Nottingham and Rick Hopper have planned the recruitment strategy since before the team was approved by the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) last year. 

“We come from a different generation of how teams recruited players,” Nottingham said in a press release. “We did it the old-fashioned way. We went out to the arenas. We went up and down Vancouver Island for the academy teams and zone programs, but also for all the junior A teams over there.”

After these scouting trips, the men created a list of their top prospects, then narrowed it down from around 300 young athletes. The first weekend of May will include introductions and a social BBQ for the prospects, as well as fitness testing, evaluations and exit interviews. The top 15 to 20 players will go onto the main prospects camp. 

“For every player at camp, we probably had four on the list. We're going to have 60 kids at camp, and we probably had another 240 we had information on to add to our list,” Nottingham said. “I think we've done a good job. Our camp is almost full. We've got a few defensemen and forward spots left. The goalie position is filled already. It's coming along.”

Of course, homegrown talent is highly sought after. Many of the prospects hitting the ice this spring are from the Sunshine Coast. “If there is a Sunshine Coast player who can play junior hockey, we’ll be looking at him,” Nottingham said. 

Starting at the beginning of June, the team will start officially signing players. 

Organizers hope the team will help young hockey players develop their game and move up to the next level, and take advantage of a development centre that includes physical well-being, therapy and education (after all, the high school is one block away from the arena). Instead of the usual three practices a week, athletes on the Sunshine Coast’s team will attend five practices per week.

The Coastal Tsunami team will hit the ice in September for their first official games. Organizers anticipate packed stands to cheer them on.