AMARILLO, TX – When the Amarillo Bulls begin their training camp late next month there will be about 30 players vying for a spot in the 23-man roster.
More than 140 players from Latvia, Australia, Russia and Canada participated in the Bulls Main Camp that took place at the Hardees Ice Plex in Chesterfield, Missouri (near St. Louis). Those hopefuls will participate of training camp activities at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center in August. The Bulls also have several players that are on the protected list in USHL Camps.
New Head Coach Matt Nicholson is confident in the young men that were chosen to represent the the Bulls.
“I think we have a good group of people which is a good foundation to start with,” he said. “System- wise that will evolve and I think you have to gear your systems to the personnel. We were just so impressed with how hard everyone worked.
“I don’t think it matters what system you run or whether you are a skilled guy or a checker. The fact that we think we have the right people aboard the bus that wants to compete and have a lot of passion gives us a leg up. We are happy to start on such a strong base.”
The Main Camp featured a series of games on Friday and Saturday. A group of players were then chosen from those games to play in All-Star games on the final day. Once all of the work on the ice was done, Nicholson, Assistant Coach Mike Watt, Director of Scouting Erik Blasé and the Bulls Scouts were left to make some tough decisions.
“We deliberated quite a long time regarding the players that we had,” he said. “There were a lot of players and hard decisions to make and as I told the staff that is a good thing to have. That is also great for the organization because as a staff we are making tough choices which means the quality of the players and talent available is high.”
Nicholson said one of the takeaways during the Camp was the high compete level by the players right from the opening game on Friday morning.
“We didn’t want a goon show so to speak but there were 6 or 7 fights so a really spirited affair,” he said. “Not to put a spotlight on that but it was young men competing for a job. Many of guys that we took into that group of 30 can really push the pace and skate. I think that is really important with the way today’s game is played. You have to be able to move, push the pace and attack the opposition.”
The Amarillo Bulls invite fans to help mark 20 consecutive years of Hockey In The Texas Panhandle by purchasing or renewing Full and Half Season Tickets and 10-Game Flex Packs. There are several payment options available making it very affordable on everyone’s budget. For further information on seat locations and packages, drop by 301 South Polk in the Amarillo Building or call us at 806-242-1122.