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Monday, April 25, 2011

Recap of the WHL U.S. Prospects Camp in Anaheim, CA (April 22-24)

Over 80 of the top 1996- and 1997-born players from the Western U.S. descended on Anaheim, CA this past weekend for the 6th annual WHL U.S. Prospects Camp. The players were divided into four teams for a three game round-robin format. The teams were led by current WHL coaches – Derek Laxdal (Edmonton Oil Kings), Don Hay (Vancouver Giants), Dean Clark (Prince George Cougars), and Bruno Campese (Prince Albert Raiders). Former Kamloops Blazers forward Darcy Tucker, a 14-year NHL veteran, also participated in the camp. Campese’s team (Team Black) won the tournament for the 2nd year in a row. Almost every WHL team sent representatives to the camp – including several GMs.
Derek Laxdal had this to say in an article posted on the Edmonton Oil Kings website prior to the camp, "I'm really looking forward to heading down there and helping the WHL promote our league and facilitate the Prospects Camp," Laxdal said. "More and more, some of the top players in the league are coming from the States, like Emerson Etem (Medicine Hat Tigers) and Tyler Johnson (Spokane Chiefs). This is a great chance for us to keep growing our league, and a chance for those kids to see what kind of coaching they'll get in the WHL."

Tyler Boldt, Manager of Player Development and Recruitment for the WHL, had several tweets throughout the weekend – including one saying that this was the strongest camp in its six years of existence. Boldt also tweeted twice about Taylor Vickerman of the Spokane Jr. Chiefs – naming him as the top forward in the tournament. Vickerman had 2 goals and 2 assists in 3 games – including a game winner with less than 2 minutes to play versus Team White to earn tournament honors for Team Black.

MVPs were named for each team as follows:
Team Black – Scott Albertoni (’96), Carson Vance (’96 - Phoenix Jr. Coyotes), and Scott Eansor (’96 – Colorado Thunderbirds)
Team White – Nathan Churchill (’96 – Chicago Mission), Logan Fauber (’97 – Colorado Thunderbirds), and Brian Williams (’96 – LA Selects)
Team Blue – Danny Mumaugh (’96 – Colorado Thunderbirds), Matt Jones (’96 – Team Arizona), Jeremy Briscoe (’96 - Phoenix Jr. Coyotes)
Team Red – Keoni Texeira (’97 – LA Selects)

Several players that participated in the WHL U.S. Prospects camp will head to Kent, WA this coming weekend for the USA Hockey Pacific District Select-15 Camp.

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