Players who attend the various and multiple junior hockey tryout camps are not just showcasing their skills to the team they are trying out for.
As an example, Soo Eagles of the North American Hockey League are holding their second tryout camp of the off-season this weekend in Detroit with well over 100 players in attendance.
And not only will personnel from the Eagles be evaluating the talent but so will scouts from teams in the North American 3 Hockey League, Midwest Jr. Hockey League, Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League and the new Canadian International Hockey League.
Let’s face it, there are only so many players who attend an NAHL tryout who are actually going to make the team. Ergo, there are a lot of good hockey players out there who may not make an NAHL roster but are easily good enough to play for a team in a junior league that is just a rung below.
Take the Batchewana Attack of the new CIHL.
The Attack, which will play out of Rankin Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, just across the International Bridge from where the NAHL Eagles reside, is on the prowl for high-end players.
Where better to find high-end players than at an NAHL tryout camp such as the one the Eagles are hosting this weekend?
David Maciuk, who is the director of hockey operations for the new Batchewana entry, is a shrewd, seasoned operator with a feel for the game and an eye for talent.
As Maciuk forms the roster for his Batchewana team in the new CIHL, you can bet he will be in close contact with his long-time friend Bruno Bragagnolo, who is the coach and general manager of the NAHL Eagles.
Maciuk and Bragagnolo coached together for many years within the Chicago Young Americans minor hockey program and have remained close associates.
For starters, Maciuk will be looking to stock the Batchewana roster with as many players from the Sault Ste. Mariea area as he can.
Maciuk has already signed two Soo boys — 1997 birth-year forward Jacob Palmerio and 1996 birth-year defenceman Cade Nolan — and there are others from the area who he has talked to.
As stated, Maciuk is giving Soo boys first priority.
But if players from the Soo decide to not take advantage of the opportunity to sign with the Attack, Maciuk will then refer elsewhere — such as Bragagnolo and other NAHL general managers — to stock and stack Batchewana with American-born talent.
Let’s not forget, in the case of Batchewana and all other teams in the CIHL, Canadian and American players share equal status as non-imports.