Virden Oil Capitals’ head coach and general manager Tyson Ramsey saw a lot that he liked at the Comfort Inn & Suites Fall Camp last weekend.
“I was real happy with how the weekend went and impressed with all our returning players and prospects,” said the junior hockey head coach, who was leading his first fall camp after being named the team’s leader in the off season.
Twenty returning and signed players, as well as more than 50 young players, attended the three-day event at Tundra Oil & Gas Place. The rookie players competed in games, while the returnees and signed players participated in practices.
Joining the veterans in practice were Elkhorn’s Travis Sanheim of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and former Oil Capital Zach Whitecloud, who played last season for the Vegas Golden Knights’ top farm team.
The vets and the top newcomers capped camp with the annual intersquad game for the Garry Cup. Team Red beat Team Black, 4-1. Red forward and Oil Caps captain Kolten Kanaski accepted the Cup from namesake and assistant equipment manager Garry Rempel.
Ramsey said, “I thought the games were highly competitive and fast paced and we’re really happy with our list guys and there were also a few pleasant surprises with a few free agent invites.”
The Oil Capitals could be a veteran team this season with 15 players eligible to return from last season. Already in camp, the veterans were displaying their leadership.
“I thought our returning players competed hard in practices and showed our younger players and prospects the kind of commitment it requires to play at the junior hockey level and what it takes to become an Oil Cap,” Ramsey said.
After the weekend, the team had 31 players remaining. Included among the newcomers still with the squad are such local products as Hunter Andrew, Hunter Wallace, Dexter Whittle, and Eric Reid.
Ramsey said he was looking forward to getting the exhibition season started. The Oil Capitals were slated to play in Portage on Tuesday and Winkler on Wednesday. On Saturday, they are in Waywayseecappo. The squad caps the exhibition season with a trio of home games against the same teams. They host Portage on Sept. 10, Winkler on Sept. 11, and Waywayseecappo on Sept. 14.
The Oil Capitals open the Manitoba Junior Hockey League regular season schedule on Sept. 20 in Selkirk before hosting the same team on Sept. 21.