Three second year members of the Terrace Bantam Rep team are en route to Salmon Arm to take a shot at representing the province on Team BC’s U16 team.
Nick Nordstrom, Austen McKean and Sam Reinbolt successfully made it through the 90-player north region camp in Vanderhoof two weekends ago to become three of only 20 players from the northern half of the province selected to advance to the next selection round April 17 – 20. This round sees 160 of the best young players in the province compete for a spot on Team BC which will be competing in the Canada Winter Games in Prince George in 2015.
“For all of the different communities, three of the 20 coming from Terrace in the north half, that’s a good accomplishment for those boys and the whole team,” said the boys’ coach Rory Reinbolt, noting there were five bantams in total who competed, and the two who didn’t make the cut also gave strong performances.
The Bantams had a strong run at provincials this year, taking bronze, and coach Reinbolt said the team handles pressure well, which will be helpful at U16 tryouts.
“I think being through a pressure cooker like that at provincials helps,” he said. “Now they’re at that stage trying to get picked and there’s some pressure, you hold the stick a little tighter and maybe you try a little bit too hard, and that was some of the stuff we talked to some of the boys about at provincials too, saying ‘Oh don’t do that, just play your normal game. You’re good enough to win if you just relax and do your thing.’”
He said that was the message he gave them at tryouts.
“Don’t try to go outside your skin, just play your normal game, try to focus on your strengths and do what you always do well and you should be good enough,” he said.
And the boys seem to have taken those words to heart.
“I think we just need to play the way us three played all season,” said Nordstrom.
With 160 players, it’s important that the boys find a way to stand out, while still sticking to their strengths.
Defenceman Nordstrom is going to focus on “skating, quick speed, looking for the right passes. Skating’s really important, physicality helps.”
And for forwards McKean and Reinbolt, it’s “can we pull a move off here or there, or score a goal,” said Reinbolt.
“The simple stuff,” said McKean.
The players said it was helpful to play with the high calibre of players at the Vanderhoof camp.
“It kind of got us working harder,” said Nordstrom.
And they’re anticipating even better players in Salmon Arm. The U16 tryouts are heavily watched by higher league scouts, and the players are used to being scouted.
Coach Reinbolt said that usually the scouts know the players they are looking for.
“They’ve scouted them already and they want to see how they perform under pressure,” he said. “But the boys from the north, they get a chance to be seen by these guys too, and they say they’re always looking for the diamond in the rough so it’s a good opportunity for the boys.”