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Power prep for an early season

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There is nothing wrong with having a little fun before getting down to business, especially when it's the business of junior hockey.

The Brockville Braves hit the links of the Prescott Golf Club on Saturday for the club's annual tournament, complete player physicals on Sunday and stride onto the ice on Monday for the first session of fall training camp.

If it sounds like a busy schedule for players and management in the middle of August, it's because the CCHL has moved its schedule up a week this season.

"We don't have a lot of time to prepare, nor does anybody," said Braves new head coach Taurean White. "We're playing our first (league) game Labour Day weekend."

With less preparation time before the start of league play, White said it was even more important this year to make sure returning and recruited players knew what to expect from the Braves staff.

"There's not a lot of time to prep, so a lot of teaching during that two-week span to make sure we've got out systems ready, guys are familiar with our system, and familiar with one another," he said.

"It's really condensed, but that's fine. We're going to run a real good training camp and we'll practice quite a bit during that time."

White said he won't be changing his coaching methods just because the club is under a tighter time frame. Players at this stage of their hockey development, at the junior A level, generally know what they need to do to impress.

"I'm not one to say we need to have this and we need to have that," he said. "As long as the guys know the expectation of what my 'normal is... once they understand that concept we'll be fine. I know we'll progress if the guys are progressing each week."

As far as game style is concerned, White said he is happy with how current and recruited players, thanks to general manager Adam Gibson, complement his puck possession philosophy.

"I love the puck possession thing, I love our guys having the puck on their sticks," he said, adding the June camp proved fruitful in that respect.

"Through the June camp we did have a lot of guys that love to have the puck on their stick."

White complimented Gibson for bringing in the kinds of players the head coach feels fit his style, and have the opportunity to develop individually and make the team stronger.

"Adam did a great job in his first year," he said. "He's worked very, very hard in terms of getting these players. We do have the skill set.

“I think with the players we have brought in, with the style I have, a lot of players will have the opportunity to blossom, put up some points and to be 'game changers.'"

White said he isn't cautious about voicing goals for the club early in the campaign. When his players know he won't settle for just being OK the club is already one step ahead of the game.

"Our guys know, they have been told that," he said. "They are all on board, which I think is why a lot of the new guys wanted to come to us. Out attitude is we're going to be a good team this year."

Like every year, White said the Braves have a couple of open spots for players who might open a few eyes at camp. And, as every player at this level should know, a spot on any roster is never guaranteed.

"It has to be competitive," said White about camp. "The minute the guys feel they are safe is when they can be replaced because they settled for mediocrity and I don't want that."

 

FACTBOX:

NEW SEASON

The Braves will be at the Youth Arena for training camp the next two weeks before moving into the Memorial Centre early in September. The Braves first league game is in Gloucester on Aug. 31.

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