North East Bantam Camp - Sask. First Team

FTLComm - Tisdale - February 28, 1999
The Saskatchewan First team that competes in the Canada games and other competitions for the province is an annual selection process which sees teams picked from Bantam players in each zone throughout the province. Once this team is selected it is prepared for competition and goes to a super provincial tournament and from that tournament the best forty Bantams in the province are selected to go to the summer camp to compete for a place on the provincial team.

This weekend the Bantams from North Eastern Saskatchewan were divided up into five teams and played a tournament here in Tisdale before their parents and a group of coaches and scouts who evaluated their play to create a team to represent his zone.

Besides the game play there were sessions on basic skills as
can be seen in the top picture and the one below where the goalies had a chance to pick up some pointers and master some skills.

Being a parent of one of these players seems to have as much stress as being one of the players. Above is a parent and his son from La Ronge as five players came from that community to the camp.

Not only are the coaches evaluating players for the zone team but this sort of collection of the best players from the region gives the scouts for major teams a chance to see a large number of good players at a single time. The man at centre in the picture on the right is wearing a Prince Albert Raider
jacket. It is at the bantam age that most players are "carded" a means of selection by the junior "A" and Western Hockey league. The whole process involves these teams looking over players then inviting them to their tryout camps in the summer as they sort out their prospects for each successive year.

With such competition to fill all the teams in Junior and professional ranks there is considerable competition for good players and a lot of opportunities for these young people who want to pursue this route. Saskatchewan Junior teams are considered amateur so that players in this league preserve their ability to obtain hockey collage scholarships whereas the Western league is a professional league and that option is not available to players even though these teams offer one year of collage for each year of play it rarely happens as trading upsets the process.