Rookies vying for netminding duty

Hockey: Goalie spot available at Oilers training camp

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 07:33 pm

Former UFA Bison Carter Seminuk tends the crease at the Okotoks Oilers <br />main camp on Aug. 17 at Pason Centennial Arena.
Former UFA Bison Carter Seminuk tends the crease at the Okotoks Oilers
main camp on Aug. 17 at Pason Centennial Arena.
Remy Greer/OWW

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Keep an eye on the last line of defence.

The second goalie position is truly up for grabs at the Okotoks Jr. Oilers pre-season camp this week with offseason acquisition Devon Fordyce coming in as the only veteran between the pipes for the green-and-gold.

“It’s good to know I’m not just here to play,” said prospect netminder Carter Seminuk. “I’m here to make a team, unlike some other camps I’ve been to.”

The Strathmore native rose through the Okotoks Oilers Athletic Association ranks and skated with the Okotoks Bantam AAA Oilers and Rockyview M-15 Raiders before starring in goal with his hometown UFA Bisons in 2013-14, finishing with 11 wins and a .916 save percentage.

“I like Okotoks. I’ve played with a lot of guys here, they’re all good guys. I’m really comfortable here,” Seminuk said. “(UFA) was an awesome program, awesome team, really good coaches.”

Coached by former Jr. Oilers bench boss Dan MacDonald, the Bisons program gave the Midget players a good preview for what to expect in the Junior hockey lifestyle.

“For guys that went up to Junior and (affiliated) they said it was exactly like being on a Junior team,” Seminuk said. “It’s good to get more into it as fast as you can.”

The goaltender said his success comes down to consistency on the ice.

“Lots of communication, puck-handling and making sure I’m always in the play, always involved, always in the right position,” he said. “I challenge a lot when it’s needed and really flexible with lots of fast movement around the net.”

The 17-year-old is keeping his Junior options open with a fair share of movement as he heads to camp with the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs later this week.

Whether it’s in the dub or in Jr. A, Seminuk insists he’s ready for any role he earns.

“As a goalie you’re not going to go to a team and automatically be the starting goalie, you’re going to have to work for it because there is always going to be a guy that’s already been there,” he said. “You’re going to have to play behind him, get a few games in and when he’s gone you’re going to have to fill that spot.”

Such is the circle of life for the caged warriors.

Calgary Midget AAA Flames alumnus Riley Morris said the competitive spirit in camp is bringing out the best in those auditioning to be Fordyce’s understudy.

“It’s exciting and every goalie is competing super hard here,” said Morris. “And I think it just drives everyone to push even harder.

“I went to Okotoks (camp) last year and Medicine Hat with the Tigers, but every time you’re here it’s a great experience.”

With one year left of Midget eligibility, the 17-year-old is looking to put his days in the Alberta Midget Hockey League behind him and get to know Junior A intimately.

“I feel like (the Oilers staff) are looking for someone who’s a team player, can go in there and push the starting goaltender,” Morris said. “To try and win the position over, but be a team-first player.”

Okotoks’ training camp wraps up today, Aug. 20. The Oilers first pre-season game is Aug. 25 on the road versus the Brooks Bandits. The Oilers then host their annual pre-season tournament from Aug. 28-30, a four-team showcase featuring the Bandits, Drumheller Dragons and Fort McMurray Oil Barons.

For full schedule information go to okotoksoilers.ca


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