Smokies Prepare for September Opening of Training camp

smoke eaters action

The new head coach and GM of the Trail Smoke Eaters expects to open training camp September 8th with a large contingent of players.

Tim Fragle also says the three-month camp means younger players will hang around longer increasing their chances of cracking the December 1st opening night lineup.

“It’s a great opportunity for younger players that maybe wouldn’t get as long a look, They’re going to get that opportunity this year to train with our team for at least two and a half months,” said Fragle.

The new bench boss is planning for a gradual transition into scrimmages and intra-squad action feeling players will need time to brush up on their skills after over four months off the ice.

“We are going to take some time early in the season to probably spend more time on their individual skills that you normally would,” said Fragle who added that will form the foundation for game preparation.

“As we go along into September we will definitely get into some team structure and systems play.”

Fragle said the league is working hard on getting approval for their Americans to cross the border knowing they will be impact players for the Smokies this season.

“There is a check list the league is working on to give us the best chance.  There is also an Immigration lawyer trying to do their thing so we can make sure these players can get in and be a part of the BCHL, and for us, definitely all our American players are impact players, so for whatever reason if we couldn’t get them in, that’s an extreme blow to our roster.” 

Fragle is hoping they will be cleared by BC Health to report in time to begin training with the rest of the players.

Fragle figures having a specific date for training camp and a target date to start the regular season takes a lot of the guess-work and some of the uncertainty away from the 2020-21 season after the abrupt ending to the playoffs just one day before the second round series against Salmon Arm was set to start on March 13.

“The last few months we were speculating 1st of September we were going to go (start training camp) and that was the hope but we didn’t really know, so we are glad to get September 8 as a start date for us.” said Fragle.