The Swift Current Diamond Energy Female Midget AAA Wildcats were searching for help on the blueline during their annual spring camp at the Innovation Credit Union iplex over the weekend.
The Wildcats split their camp into two portions, with a prospects camp included for potential players.
“Overall we’re happy,” said Wildcats longtime head coach Terry Pavely. “We’ve got good numbers. Three teams of the older kids and then the two younger teams with our young kids. We have a lot of returning kids, so we don’t have a lot of spots, so there is going to be some real good competition for those spots we do have.”
Pavely and his staff will face some difficult decisions as they try and shape their roster for the 2018-19 season.
“We have some kids from up north, which we usually don’t get. We have some kids from different parts of the province that I think are gonna make our decisions hard and that’s what you want. You want to make sure that you have tough decisions, that’s the best way to make a team,” said Pavely.
The Wildcats graduated three defensemen and only one forward from last season as Taylor Kirwan, Tenelle Lind, Toni Theaker, and Brooklyn Colborn will all move on.
“Right now we have one forward that we really want to get a commitment from that we think is high end. On the back end, we think we’ve got one D spot for sure already taken. We have to find two D men out of this camp. If we really like the kids that are here we might just try to get kids to commit right now.”
“Who knows how that will look,” Pavely continued. “It may look like we are pretty well done for the year or we may not be. Right now we are kind of up in arms as to how it will look at the end of this camp. I think we like the potential we have. The downside of losing three D is it’s hard to replace them, but the nice thing about the birth years of this camp is that it is looking like we are going to have the potential next year to only graduate one or maybe no D.”
Goaltenders Amaya Giraudier and Harper Davey are both eligible to return next season.
“With returning goaltenders it is nice to build from the back out. I think we are going to have to be patient next year with three new D, but hopefully they get accustomed to it and they are pretty confident within a month or so of the year starting. D is probably the priority just because of the depth we have coming back up front.”
The Wildcats finished fifth in the eight-team Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League regular season with a 12-11-1-4 record.
“For the most part we were pretty happy,” said Pavely. “We knew we were going to be a pretty young team with only four 17-year-olds. We had nine one-goal losses, which was really the difference in us finishing fourth or fifth or maybe even a little bit higher, especially with the three-point games, if you lose a 3-2 game and you are not getting a point, you could get three points and those three points really catapult you up the standings. We knew were in the mix.”
They were eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs, three games to one, by the fourth seeded Regina Rebels.
“We still felt disappointment at the end that we felt we could have beat Regina. It was a close series, but the bottom line is we hope that the experience that the young kids got and our retuning players stepping into next year, those one-goal games are now games that we find a way to win. Again we are not going to have a lot of new players, we will have some on the back end. But we bring enough kids back that we hope that the experience of playing tough playoff games and playing tough games will benefit us next year and allow us to be in the top half of the league,” said Pavely.