The Kenai River Brown Bears wrapped up their main selection camp Monday at the Veterans Memorial Community Center in Inner Grove Heights, Minn.
The camp was held Friday through Monday and was used to select the players that will attend training camp, starting Aug. 25 at the Soldotna Sports Center.
“It was a really deep, big talent pool,” Brown Bears head coach Geoff Beauparlant said. “There were difficult decisions that had to be made.”
The camp started out with just over 100 players. The players were cut down to 45 or 50 for the first all-star game, then 39 for the final all-star game.
Out of that process, Beauparlant and the staff selected 25 players to bring to training camp.
“It was a difficult process,” Beauparlant said. “Players competed hard throughout the week. Veterans, especially Zack Zulkanycz, Alec Butcher and Alex Jackstadt, were very strong, but all competed hard.
“It was exciting to see the core group perform as well as it did.”
Beauparlant said the Bears can bring as many players as they want to training camp, but the coach decided to bring 25. That number will be supplemented with affiliate players in order to create more competitiveness and rest at training camp.
The coach also said the Bears could add players cut by other teams.
Beauparlant must have the roster down to 25 by Sept. 1 and 23 by Oct. 1.
The coach said there were some players on the 30-man protected list, including some veterans from last year, that did not make the 25, but he did not want to tip his hand to other coaches who those players were.
“We’re working on finding them a good place to play,” Beauparlant said. “There were a few on that list that did not make the hockey club and we’ve begun working the phones to find them a better situation.”
Beauparlant said he will release more information as he starts finding those players homes.
The 25 report to the Bears on Aug. 23 at 5 p.m. Beauparlant said the team will then attend Industry Appreciation Day on Aug. 24 at the Kenai Park Strip.