Upcoming Pacific ID Camp aims to boost exposure to junior hockey
For young hockey players looking to use the summer months to get some exposure to some of the top junior programs in Canada, there’s no better bang for your buck than the Pacific ID Camp coming to Orange County this June.
Started last year by Jason Fortier, the head coach and general manager of the Coquitlam Express of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), the Pacific ID Camp doesn’t just give promising junior players exposure to one team – it brings in coaches from the BCHL, Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League and Ontario Junior Hockey League, as well as college coaches.
“Our thought process was that it didn’t make sense for a kid from California to come to a camp for one single BCHL team when we have limited roster spots available,” Fortier explained. “We decided that if we could bring a handful of teams, it would make attending more worthwhile for kids to get that exposure that they’re after and also learn a little about the things they need to do to play hockey in Canada.
“We put together a camp with coaches from five different Junior A teams, to help kids get that exposure that can help them get to the next level. This year will be bigger and better than what we did last year.”
This year’s camp will be held June 28-30 at The Rinks-Yorba Linda ICE. Registration is open now, and interested players or their parents can learn more at www.PacificIDCamp.com.
Camp spots are open to players from the 1999-2003 birth years (the “prospects” group) and those from the 2003-2005 birth years (the “futures” group). The cost is $375 for older players and $285 for younger skaters, with a discounted rate for goalies.
Each group will run through one practice with the coaches on the ice. The prospects will play three games and the futures players two. Coaches will then select the top players from the older group to play under the spotlight in the camp’s Saturday night Top Prospects game. Fortier is hoping to attract enough players to ice two futures teams and four prospects squads.
Offering more than just time on the ice with some of the top junior coaches evaluating players’ skills, high school-age hockey players will get an education in how to navigate the path to playing junior hockey and college hockey. The unique symposium is aimed at helping families understand the steps they need to take on and off the ice to achieve their goals of playing at the next levels. Parents are strongly encouraged to attend, as they play a huge role in deciding their children’s future direction on the ice and in the classroom.
“It just provides an avenue to give another opportunity for players, not to mention having some coaches there who can help players and their families navigate the choppy waters and help them understand the system,” Fortier said.
Fortier added that holding the camp in Southern California makes sense for a lot of reasons – the large population base and the growth in hockey being among the primary ones.
“Hockey is booming there, and you’re starting to see more and more kids from California end up in leagues all across Canada,” he said. “We’re starting to build some contacts and starting to recruit there. We felt like we could give kids a good reason to attend our camp, whereas a lot of camps are for just one team. It’s a great avenue for kids to try to land with the program that’s going to best fit their needs.
“We see great value in it, but we also have to see the elite players coming out of this camp. We’re marrying six different junior programs together to help find that best talent, so we’re hoping players will show up and perform well.”
— Greg Ball
(April 24, 2019)