The weekend ahead
The Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs sit at 3-2-0 on the season. Their most recent game, a 3-2 win over Whitecourt, has the team rolling into Camrose. They roll in with confidence, but know it’s going to be a big weekend of not just on-ice performance. This weekend is the 11th annual AJHL Showcase in Camrose. The Pontiacs will play the Calgary Mustangs, and Okotoks Oilers. Both teams will provide a tough test for the young Yaks.
AJHL Showcase is a big deal
The yearly AJHL showcase is a big deal for many reasons. The weekend allows scouts from all over the college hockey ranks (U.S. + Canada) to see each team in the AJHL. The weekend is often used as a follow up to a previous scouting assignment. Another thing that usually happens, is a couple of players pop up on a scouts radar. Pontiacs Head Coach, and General Manager, Rick Swan admits that a showcase weekend can bring surprises.
“I was just at the BCHL Showcase last week in Chilliwack. I’m looking for players for Team Canada West (U-19 WJAC), and again my list may be different from guys in the league. Or what they will say. If I’m there, and I get an opportunity to watch a player that stands out. That’s the type of scenario all those scouts [at the AJHL Showcase] will deal with when they’re looking for players who fit within the wheelhouse of what’s important to their organization.” Swan explains.
Pontiacs drawing lots of attention
The scouting buzz around the Pontiacs this year seems to be nearing an all-time high. The Bonnyville organization has done a great job of getting scouts up to their games so far this season. The AJHL Showcase will be a big reinforcement for a lot of the players. Those who have garnered attention so far will get to prove themselves further. Some guys will get on the radar, or else open the door for more looks. With young guns like Kirby Proctor, Isaac Saniga, and Lucas Thorne the Pontiacs are sure to be a must watch team.
Showcase success story
A good showing at the AJHL showcase rarely does more for a player than get their name on paper. 47 Pontiacs players have committed to high-level hockey schools in Rick Swan’s tenure. Of the 47, one stands out as a true AJHL Showcase success story. Tanner Dusyk played for the Pontiacs from 2011 to 2013. In his two seasons, he put up 98 points in 106 games. Those numbers are impressive, but Swan remembers it was Dusyk’s showcase showing that secured his scholarship.
“The most prominent one that I can remember is Tanner Dusyk. He ended up going to University of Alaska Anchorage. Tanner that year had as good of two games, as I have ever seen anybody have in showcase history. Immediately afterwards, an NCAA scholarship. A lot of guys get noted at the showcase, but it usually takes months and additional scouting to get there.” Swan says.
Pontiacs AJHL Showcase schedule
As mentioned, the Pontiacs play two games in Camrose this weekend. They will face two tough South division teams. The Calgary Mustangs are up first at 1 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday, the Yaks will play another afternoon game against the Okotoks Oilers at noon.