Brandon Wheat Kings netminder Corbin Boes will attend Hockey Canada’s goaltenders camp later this week in Calgary. (FILE PHOTO)
Corbin Boes would rather not think about the long-term ramifications of this week’s Hockey Canada Program of Excellence goaltending camp.
The Brandon Wheat Kings veteran is one of 11 puckstoppers who will take part in the under-20 portion of the camp, which runs from Thursday to Sunday in Calgary.
The idea of the camp is to identify and develop goalies for potential international duty and, for the under-20 group, the biggest prize of all in that regard is the national junior team. But Boes would rather keep the big dreams in the back of his mind for now.
"I just really haven’t wanted to think about it, ever since I found out I was going," said Boes, a Saskatoon native who turns 19 next month. "(The goal is to) just kinda make it pressure free. … I’ll go and play every drill that they have going on in the camp, just have some fun out there and compete."
While the world junior championship seems like a long way away, Boes is permitting himself to think about an intermediate goal — becoming one of four goaltenders to advance from this week’s camp and earn a spot on the Canadian team for the four-game Canada-Russia Challenge in August in Halifax.
"Everyone going to that camp, that’s their goal; that’s their mindset," Boes said. "I’m just going to go out there, give it my all and hopefully the coaches see something in me and I guess we’ll see what happens."
Boes is one of three Western Hockey League goaltenders in the U-20 portion of the camp. He played himself into that elite company with a breakout season with the Wheat Kings, posting a 23-10-0-2 record, a 2.84 goals-against average and the WHL’s third-best save percentage at .916.
Nevertheless, he found himself on the ice with the Wheat Kings’ young hopefuls last weekend, as he took part in the club’s prospects camp as sort of a last-minute cram session for this week’s camp.
"That’s kinda the whole goal, just come out and work with (Wheat Kings goalie coach Matt Cockell)," Boes said. "He’s been to these (Hockey Canada) camps, so he kinda knows the drills and what the mindset of the coaches is like. He’s giving me a couple tips and stuff, so it’s just nice to get some shots and get back out on the ice."
Laurent Brossoit of the Edmonton Oil Kings and Mackenzie Skapski of the Kootenay Ice were the other WHLers invited to the U-20 camp, while Eric Comrie of the Tri-City Americans and Tristan Jarry of the Oil Kings will be among five goalies in the camp’s U-18 group.
ON THE RADAR: Brandon Bantam AA Wheat Kings goalie Tyson Verhelst was one of 42 players selected by the National Hockey League Players Association to attend the Allstate All-Canadians Mentorship Camp, July 17-21 in Mississauga, Ont.
Verhelst was the top Manitoba goalie chosen in last month’s WHL Bantam Draft, going to the Spokane Chiefs in the third round. He’ll also be the only Manitoban at the camp and the invitation caught him off guard.
"They just phoned me one night and asked if I would be interested in going to their mentorship camp," Verhelst said. "I’m very honoured."
Former National Hockey League standout Gary Roberts will lead the camp, which teaches players on-ice and off-ice skills to aid their hockey futures.
AROUND THE WHL: Saskatoon has hired former Blade and longtime NHLer Curtis Leschyshyn as a full-time assistant coach. He joined the team midway through last season as a part-time assistant … Former Wheat King Peter Schaefer has been hired by the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as an assistant coach.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 6, 2012