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Broncos' fall camp attracts huge number of players

Over 160 young hockey players spent the Labour Day long weekend at the rink in Humboldt, hoping, at the end of it, to make the cut.
Over 160 hockey players took a shot at becoming one of the Humboldt Junior A Broncos by attending their fall training camp September 3-5. These groups of senior players were out on the ice bright and early on Saturday morning, showing the coaches their stuff.

Over 160 young hockey players spent the Labour Day long weekend at the rink in Humboldt, hoping, at the end of it, to make the cut.The Junior A Humboldt Broncos attracted a huge number of players to their fall training camp, which ran September 3-5 at the Elgar Petersen Arena.The players were split into eight teams of about 20 players each and took to the ice to try and impress the scouts and coaches watching them from the media gondola above.About 14 veteran Broncos were eligible to return to the team this year, and most were at the camp, though some players remained at Western Hockey League camps, noted Dean Brockman, head coach and general manager of the Humboldt Broncos as he watched the action on the ice."They look good," he said of the players at the camp. "Some of the younger guys are going push the older guys for a job, I think."A hundred and sixty players is more than the usual number for a Broncos camp. "It's a big number for a fall camp, because everyone has their camps at the same time," Brockman said. The attraction to Humboldt's camp, he feels, is a combination of two things: first, the RBC Cup, Canada's Junior A Hockey championship, which Humboldt will host in 2012; and second, "a lot of hard work, really," Brockman said.That hard work has resulted in a fantastic recent record for the team, including two national championship titles in 2003 and 2008, three Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League championships in a row, in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and two ANAVET Cup championships in 2008 and 2009.With a berth at the 2012 RBC Cup secured as the host team, the Broncos are now looking to build another championship-winning team over the next couple of years.And it all started with the training camp last weekend.By the end of the weekend, the team had to be narrowed down from around 160 to about 30 - which took a lot of whittling, and more than a few hours at the rink.What were the coaches looking for?"A bit of a combination," Brockman said. "We need some young guys, not only for this year, but for next year. We're looking for young guys to push some of our older guys, as well. We need some forwards, we need some D."Over the past few seasons, the Broncos have leaned towards smaller players; but one of the players attending the camp reportedly stands 6'7" tall. Are the Broncos looking for more size this season?"Size doesn't hurt," said Brockman. "I thought we weren't gritty enough last year."But, he indicated, size is not the be-all and end-all either. If a player is big and can't play, he won't make the team. Size, he agreed, is just a nice bonus in a player.Those attending the camp came from all over Canada and neighbouring countries. Kids came to Humboldt from the United States, from Montreal, British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario, and some came from right here at home."We're happy with some of the local talent we've got here," said Broncos assistant coach Tim Klimosko. "They're looking pretty good."

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