Over the weekend at Polar Ice in Grapevine, the United States Hockey League (USHL) Omaha Lancers had a prospects camp. Since I have never been to a Junior Prospects Camp before, I didn't know what to expect. What I saw though was a fantastic group of players hoping to play juniors in the near future, I want to say that wasn't a tryout camp for this year's team because their almost ready for the roster for this season for their first big event from September 24-26 at the USHL Fall Classic at the Tyson Events Center which is the home of the Sioux City Musketeers where the showcase is being hosted this year.
The age group of the players they were targeting were from players who were born from 1992-1994, even though they were a few players born in 1995 hoping for a first look at what playing juniors is like while a few players born in 1991 hoping for one last shot at making a junior roster before they get to old at the age of 20.
At this camp, they were no drill or skating sessions, they just did a series of inter squad games between the different players that were divided into 4 teams based on their team colors of Orange, Grey, Green and Black as head coach Bliss Littler, assistant coach Doug Johnson, and the Director of Player Personnel Terri Phillips were their to take a look at the talent that was their.
I was at the Friday night and Saturday Morning Sessions, however after the Saturday morning session, I asked head coach Bliss Littler about a league presentation which included a short video about 10 minutes long where they talk to players, coaches and even alumni who are in the NHL about the opportunities about the USHL gives players the option to play both in the NCAA and the NHL. After the video, Bliss talked about his success in the league which included the 2008 USHL Clark Cup Championship, the fact that over 90% of his players have gone on to play at least in the NCAA and a handful of players that have gone to play in the NHL and a few questions about the league ranging from league expansion to how players travel.
He described the USHL as the league with most opportunities after your junior career is over because you still have your NCAA eglibity where your chances of playing at a Div 1 school are quite high and moving up to the NHL oppose to the Major Juniors in Canada where you don't have NCAA eglibity.
I would like to think Omaha Lancers Head Coach Bliss Littler for meeting him and especially allowing me to go to the League Presentation where it was very helpful to learn more about the junior leagues dealing with players and teams from across the United States Hockey League.
Theirs still a couple of prospects camps that the Omaha Lancers have left before getting ready for the season.
El Segundo, California
from August 7-9 at the Toyota Sports Center
Elmsford, New York
From August 14-16 at the Westchester Skating Academy
Here's the links to the USHL:
United States Hockey League marketing Video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYXH8YnSEiQ
United States Hockey League: http://www.ushl.com/
Omaha Lancers Org: http://www.lancers.com/
USHL Fall Classic from September 24-26: http://www.ushlfallclassic.com/
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