The Portage Terriers Prospect Camp is underway at Stride Place. The two-day event will feature up-and-coming hockey players born between 2004 and 2007.
This is a chance for the entire team staff to see all the players in their system already, as well as players they have an interest in drafting in the future, all in one weekend. Head scout Frank Harding says they have a session with the 04/05s and a separate session with the 06/07s. He notes it can be much harder to evaluate the younger players.
"The young guys like the 06's and 07's, you're kind of still looking at potential," Harding explains. "With the older guys, they've been developing a little bit longer, and you're hoping that they're getting close to becoming the player that they're going to be. It's definitely tougher to make the decisions on the younger guys than it is on the older guys."
Last year the MJHL changed the draft criteria as they are now selecting players going into their 16-year-old season rather than their 15-year-old season. Due to this shift, the MJHL Draft hasn't happened since 2020. Harding says the change has made his job a little more difficult.
"It is tougher because before most of the kids we were scouting were all playing against each other. Now, some of them are playing against younger kids, and others are playing against older kids," Harding continues. "It makes it a little tougher to figure out where they actually are in their development."
Harding adds this is a fun time of year for him.
"I'm very excited. We're getting all of the players that we've scouted all year together in one place, and you really get a good chance to make a more informed evaluation."
With plans of hosting the Centennial Cup Tournament in 2023, the Terriers will be looking to have a big turnaround next season. Whether some of these players will help with that on the ice this year or not, Harding describes the type of players they tend to look for.
"We look for guys that are competitive and guys that can skate," says Harding. "That's the kind of team Blake (Spiller, Terriers' head coach and general manager) likes, he likes to play an up-tempo game. It's up to us to try and find players that can play that game."
The Terrier Prospect Camp began last night and runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today at Stride Place.