|(Credit: Alicia Roberts/Instagram)|
Even if they don't advance to the Main Camp stage, which begins Wednesday, a notable performance can convince Muskegon to keep an eye on the progress of talented skaters and goalies throughout next season.
To that end, it's not just the Jacks that are looking for a few good men. Several coaches and recruiters from NCAA Division I schools were at L.C. Walker Arena Monday and the trend continues today.
Among the colleges sighted scouting hockey talent at Tryout Camp so far are Michigan State, Dartmouth, Miami and Robert Morris. And those are just the representatives that wore their college insignia on their chests, with many more going about their business discretely.
With all eyes obviously upon them, it can be challenging for these aspiring Lumberjacks to convert their anxiousness into productive energy. Ron Stephenson, former Muskegon Zephyr and volunteer coach during this week, lent some advice to the players to help in that area.
"I keep asking them on the bench if they're having fun," said Stephenson, who was recently inducted into the Muskegon Sports Hall of Fame with the rest of the 1961-62 IHL champion Zephyrs team. "I let them know that this is their big opportunity to play for the Lumberjacks, but there's no use being here if you're not having fun."
Not surprisingly, the games Monday were on the tight and tentative side, with turnovers and disjointed play taking precedent. So far on Tuesday, though, the action has been much more cohesive and free-flowing. This development can likely be contributed to a combination of decreased nervousness and increased familiarity among teammates.
"It's amazing how a kid can look out of it one game and great the next," said a scout for a Tier III junior team who asked to remain anonymous. "The games today are much better than yesterday."
With today being the last guaranteed chance for Invite Camp attendees to let their abilities shine, the competition figures to reach a whole new level this afternoon and evening, when the final session begins at 3 p.m. and concludes around 9.
Check out the free hockey, pick up some food and drink at the concession stand and enjoy the battle on the L.C. Walker ice surface!