After successful rookie auditions, Caps look toward main camp

Green forward Jareden Kurvers (18) is pursued by Red defenceman Nathan King (7) during the all-star game at the Cowichan Valley Capitals rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Green forward Jareden Kurvers (18) is pursued by Red defenceman Nathan King (7) during the all-star game at the Cowichan Valley Capitals rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Red defenceman Bryce Margetson (5) directs a shot past Green goalie Stephen Giasante during the all-star game at the Cowichan Valley Capitals rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Red defenceman Bryce Margetson (5) directs a shot past Green goalie Stephen Giasante during the all-star game at the Cowichan Valley Capitals rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Valley Capitals hopefuls try to catch the eyes of their coaches during the all-star game at the BCHL team’s rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan Valley Capitals hopefuls try to catch the eyes of their coaches during the all-star game at the BCHL team’s rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Valley Capitals hopefuls try to catch the eyes of their coaches during the all-star game at the BCHL team’s rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan Valley Capitals hopefuls try to catch the eyes of their coaches during the all-star game at the BCHL team’s rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Valley Capitals hopefuls try to catch the eyes of their coaches during the all-star game at the BCHL team’s rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan Valley Capitals hopefuls try to catch the eyes of their coaches during the all-star game at the BCHL team’s rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Valley Capitals hopefuls try to catch the eyes of their coaches during the all-star game at the BCHL team’s rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan Valley Capitals hopefuls try to catch the eyes of their coaches during the all-star game at the BCHL team’s rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Valley Capitals hopefuls try to catch the eyes of their coaches during the all-star game at the BCHL team’s rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan Valley Capitals hopefuls try to catch the eyes of their coaches during the all-star game at the BCHL team’s rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Valley Capitals hopefuls try to catch the eyes of their coaches during the all-star game at the BCHL team’s rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan Valley Capitals hopefuls try to catch the eyes of their coaches during the all-star game at the BCHL team’s rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Valley Capitals hopefuls try to catch the eyes of their coaches during the all-star game at the BCHL team’s rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan Valley Capitals hopefuls try to catch the eyes of their coaches during the all-star game at the BCHL team’s rookie camp on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Many of the faces from the Cowichan Valley Capitals’ rookie camp on Aug. 19-22 will be back in the main camp later this month.

Caps head coach Brian Passmore confirmed that most of the players from the rookie camp — about 30 skaters and two goalies — have been invited to the main camp, which starts Sept. 17, to vie for the last few spots on the team.

“There was some good talent with defencemen coming up who are now 17 years old and ready to compete for spots in this league, and guys who we know will play in the BCHL, maybe not this year but somewhere down the line,” Passmore said. “We want to compare them to the kids we have at main camp.”

There are about two or three spots open on the roster right now, including one import slot for an American-born player. Passmore expects to have about 60 players at the main camp, including players who are virtual locks for spots, returning players from the rookie camp, and other invitees.

“We like the pieces we have right now,” he said. “We’re just looking at filling a few little needs.”

The BCHL will be following the province’s vaccine requirements for players and spectators at games, and Passmore said the Capitals won’t have an issue complying with that mandate.

“I’ve asked the players, and every player has been voluntarily vaccinated themselves, so that won’t be an issue,” he said. “We’re following CVRD policies with the building, and league policies. There have been no issues so far.”

The Caps have continued to build their roster since the rookie camp, committing to two U.S.-born players and trading for a veteran forward from Alberta.

Forward Aidan Cobb and defenceman Joe Harney are both 19 and hail from Ridgefield, Conn. and Needham, Mass., respectively. Cobb played last season with the Odessa Jackalopes of the North American Hockey League, totalling three goals and six assists in 44 games. He spent the previous three seasons with Kent School, serving as team captain and leading the team in scoring in 2019-20, while fellow Caps commit Nick Marciano was the second-leading scorer. Cobb is committed to Div. 1 Cornell University when his junior career concludes.

“Aidan is a smart, two-way, 200-foot player and is reliable in all three zones,” Passmore commented. “He was the captain a couple of years ago at Kent and can be a great leader with us as well. He’s a high-energy, puck-hungry player that we are excited to have.”

Harney played last season with the Cape Cod Whalers U18 team, compiling 11 points in 30 games. He previously played with St. Sebastian’s School, posting 11 points in 28 games in 2019-20.

“Joe plays an aggressive style, has great range, skating ability and moves the puck quickly,” Passmore said. “Joe has good hockey sense and plays a physical brand of hockey. A right shot defencemen, who brings great work ethic and character to our team. We are excited to sign Joe for this season, he will further strengthen our back end.”

Forward Roc Truman joins the Caps in a trade with the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. The 20-year-old, originally from Lethbridge, Alta., comes over in exchange for 18-year-old forward Adam Grenier and future considerations.

Truman had an outstanding season in 2019-20, recording 30 points in 29 games split between the Drumheller Dragons and the Pontiacs, after breaking in with 41 points in 51 games as a rookie with the Dragons the previous year. In the 2020-21 AJHL pod season, he recorded five assists in 13 contests. Truman is committed to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell for the 2022-23 season.

“Roc is a really solid skater, and a proven goal-scorer in the AJHL,” Passmore said. “He’s smart and really does a good job of reading plays and anticipating things before or as they happen. His addition really strengthens us down the middle, and his size and skill gives him the opportunity to be a great player for us.”

On Wednesday morning, the Caps announced the addition of 20-year-old forward Griffin Wilson, who spent the last two seasons with the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League. With no OHL games in 2020-21, Wilson’s last season was 2019-20, when he scored two goals and finished with five points in 36 games. He has a total of 18 points in 99 career major junior games.

“Griffin is a big, strong, powerful centre,” Passmore assessed. “He uses his size and skating ability to create plays and force turnovers on the forecheck. Griffin plays a heavy brand of hockey and is hard to knock off the puck. He is a great fit for our club for this season. Look for Griffin to be an impact player for the Capitals this season; he is terrific on the penalty kill and is hungry to provide offence this season with opportunity.”

The Caps open their main camp on Friday, Sept. 17. The Bill Dellebuur Memorial Red & White Game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 19, and the first preseason game is set for Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. against the Powell River Kings.

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