NANAIMO — Training camp is underway for the North Island Silvertips hockey team.
New head coach Dave Johnston feels his group will have a chance to be one of the top clubs in the BC Major Midget League this season.
There aren't a lot of roster spots up for grabs with the team nearly selected already.
Johnston says their camp numbers will be in the mid to high twenties and will include some potential affiliate players as well.
Some camps are more about evaluation but according to the head coach this one will be different than that.
"We're going to really focus a lot on trying to implement systems and expectations and make sure that our kids, when they leave here to go to their Western League camps or their BC Hockey League camps, that they're thinking about what they need to be doing to prepare to come back to us," said Johnston.
After this weekend is over the Silvertips won't reconvene as a team until after Labour Day.
The staff with North Island is fully behind players trying out for higher level teams over the next few weeks, and Johnston says the break before the season starts also give kids some rest and time with their families so they can be hungry and ready to go in September.
With a 9-30-1 record last season the 'Tips are looking to make significant strides in 2017-18.
Johnston says one of the first steps in doing that was their participation in a recent free agent camp in Richmond where they added a number of players.
"There's seven players we feel will play in the top end of our lineup both as forwards and as defensemen," said Johnston. "That (the free agent camp) was a huge change in the way we approach things."
The Silvertips are based in Nanaimo so it will be key for their local players to play a vital role.
Players from around the north island in places like Parksville, and Campbell River will be relied upon heavily as well.
If fans want to check or the BCMML camp this weekend the ice sessions will run through Sunday at the NIC.
All of the ice times are available online at www.nisilvertips.com.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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