Friday, May 2, 2008

Ferner Rates Local Talent:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Ferner rates local talent

By Graeme Corbett - Vernon Morning Star - May 02, 2008

Nearly 80 Vernon Viper hopefuls hit the ice last weekend at Wesbild Centre, all vying for an invite to the Snakes’ main camp this summer, and head coach/GM Mark Ferner was pleased with the skills on display.“We had a lot of positive feedback from the four-on-four,” said Ferner, who changed the scrimmage format to emphasize skating and puck-handling skills. “We got to see a lot of good young players, and when you have two more bodies on the ice, you might not be able to identify them as easily.“The Vernon kids were very good, and there were some good ones from Winfield and Kelowna too. We were very happy that some of the better players were from the surrounding areas. It’s important that you have a local flavour on the team.”Ferner said approximately 30 skaters will receive an invite to the Vipers’ main camp.“The one thing we didn’t want to see happen was we didn’t want any fighting,” said Ferner, adding there were 15-year-olds going up against 20-year-olds on the ice, which could make for some lopsided scraps. “Once the main camp comes, the intensity will go up. We just wanted to see if these kids could play. It was still competitive and you can still identify players.“It’s our responsibility to put the best team on the ice, and if some of these new guys turn out to be better than some of our veteran players, they’ll play. I’ve told our guys there are no safe positions.”Viper veterans Rob Short, Trent Dorais, Justin Palazzo and Connor Jones were on hand to guide the prospects through various drills, and graduate Ryan Kakoske donned referee stripes to control the scrimmages.“Our veteran players made it easier on us,” said Ferner. “They were there every day, willing to do whatever we asked of them.”Ferner also did away with the traditional all-star game, explaining that by having one, he’d basically be showing who was getting cut.“These kids all paid the same amount of money to be here, and we want the kids leaving here with a good taste in their mouths.”Up next for Ferner will be the Global training camp May 8-11 in Vancouver, followed by the Vipers’ Alaska camp towards the end of May.In other Viper happenings, twins Connor and Kellen Jones have committed to the Quinnipiac University Bobcats for the 2010-11 season.The 17-year-old Montrose products shared rookie-of-the-year honours with the Snakes last season. Kellen racked up 12-55-67 in 60 games, while Connor compiled 24-30-54 in 50 games.The Bobcats, who play in Hamden, Conn., finished sixth in the ECAC last year, at 9-9-4.Meanwhile, defenceman Adam Thompson and forward Brett Switzer – two future Vipers playing with the Calgary Buffaloes – had strong showings at the Telus Cup National Midget Championship in Arnprior, Ont.Thompson racked up three goals and four assists and Switzer recorded four helpers as the Buffaloes finished fourth in the six-team tournament at 2-1-4. The Buffaloes bowed 7-4 to Séminaire St-François Blizzard of Quebec in the bronze-medal game.Both Thompson and Switzer earned Player-of-the-Game awards during round-robin play. For the first time in the Telus Cup’s 30-year history, the Central Region won the National Midget Championship. Mathieu Lecours, Justin Lockeyer and Denis Restoule scored in the first five minutes of the third period as the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves (Central) won gold with a 5-3 victory over the Winnipeg Thrashers (West).

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