Toss the pile of jerseys in coach Brad Cook’s office and see which land face up. You might get just as clear an indication of which committed players will be available for the Saanich Braves this season.
With training camps underway or soon to start up for the Western Hockey League and B.C. Hockey League, players are coming and going from the Braves training camp roster. And when they leave, Cook can’t assume they’ll come back.
“It makes the job interesting at the moment, that’s for sure,” Cook said.
The coach is returning after one season as an assistant on the Victoria Grizzlies’ bench.
It’s been quite a few years since the Braves made it past the first round of the playoffs.
“That’s something we want to change. It’s a fine line, you don’t want to sacrifice development just to win, like acquiring older players and buying players from other leagues.”
Cook pointed to being one win away from the second-round of the 2010 playoffs.
“When the team started up again (under Robin Gomez in 2010-11) we’d moved guys (on to higher leagues) such as Wade Murphy (Victoria Grizzlies) and Ty Jones (Cowichan Capitals).
“If we move a lot of players on then we’re doing our job. It’s not a multimillion dollar business. If done properly we will (also) win.”
One player who’s committed to the Braves for this season is Kory Movold, one of three 20-year-olds.
Last year, Movold led the Columbia Valley Rockies of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League in scoring despite playing just over half the season, with 27 points in 29 games.
He’s here because the Braves’ Hayden Long, a fellow Prince Rupert native, told Movold that Victoria is a nice place to live.
“There’s a great reputation for this league, that it’s highly skilled.”
There’s also a guarantee playing in the Island junior-B league that Movold didn’t get in the KIJHL. All seven Island teams will make the playoffs this year.
“I haven’t been in the playoffs yet as a junior. That’s something I’m looking forward to.”
Movold and about two dozen skaters worked through training camp this week.
Saanich opens the 2011-12 season against the B.C. champion Peninsula Panthers on Friday, Sept. 9, 6:30 p.m. at Pearkes Arena.