07/31/2017 10:30 AM
After a weekend of hard-hitting, high-intensity hockey, the Brampton Beast’s 2017 Free Agent Camp has drawn to a close for another year.
Brampton Beast Head Coach Colin Chaulk spent his weekend keeping a watchful eye on this year’s Beast hopefuls and admits he was once again impressed with the talent level displayed during the camp sessions.
“It was good. I will say the level each year has really stepped up,” said an impressed Chaulk.
“We’re not seeing too many players that haven’t played any hockey. We’re seeing younger guys who are playing junior hockey or who have played in the Federal Hockey League, senior hockey, guys that are committed a little bit more. You can tell by the shape and speed of the players. The skill level is much higher.”
It’s certainly a challenge to evaluate dozens of great players over the course of one weekend, but Chaulk gave some insight as to how he is building this year’s squad and what he is looking for in future Beast players.
“Right now, we are not really sure who we are going to get from Montreal,” the Beast bench boss said.
“You build your team with the highest skill level you can and then you obviously have some guys that can mix it up and move the puck, play physical, and all those sorts of things. Right now, we’re looking for players that have the best overall ability in terms of skating, speed, moving the puck, one-on-one, poise, being able to make plays and protect the puck.”
Chaulk believes the Beast’s recent successes, including last year’s Kelly Cup playoff berth as well as forward Chris Leveille making last year’s squad after starting in Free Agent Camp, have aided with public awareness about the hockey club. The result is what could be considered the most talented Free Agent Camp crop of players the club has ever seen.
“It’s a great marketing tool for the team to have guys like Chris Leveille, Dean Willmott and Thomas Stajan who gave come to our Free Agent Camp who have gone on to play in games for us in the regular season,” Chaulk said.
Of the nearly 100 players who took to the ice during the four-day Free Agent Camp, Chaulk says only a select few will earn a spot in the club’s main Training Camp coming up this fall.
“It’s important that we show this is legitimate and important to us,” Chaulk said of hosting an annual Free Agent Camp. “We want guys that can play and guys who want the puck. It’s a lot easier said than done. That’s mainly what we’re looking for. We’re going to bring through five or six guys, including a goaltender, a couple of forwards and a couple of defensemen. After that, it’s up to them.”
Chaulk’s message to those select few who will move on to the main camp is simple: you will be given a chance to earn a roster spot in this hockey team.
“Chris Leveille knocked some guys off that had been on the team the year before,” he said bluntly.
“Contracts are 24 hours and based on performance. In most jobs, you’re evaluated quarterly or two times a year. We’re giving a grade every day based on your performance. You do everything you can to prepare yourself for the opportunity and try to reach your maximum potential. We will see how these do at main camp in October.”