Spots up for grabs as Vipers open camp

The excitement returns as the Vernon Vipers open the doors on training camp.

The excitement returns as the Vernon Vipers open the doors on training camp.

Sixty-five hopefuls hit Kal Tire Place this morning with aspirations of donning the snake crest this winter.

“Training camp is one of the most exciting times of the year. Players show up eager, wanting to please us,” said Vipers GM/head coach Jason Williamson. “There is lots of turnover this year, so this one should be exciting.”

There will be plenty of roster spots available this season, as the Vipers saw 15 of last year’s skaters leave for college or graduate from the program.

Players from all over North America will descend on Kal Tire Place. Invitations went out to players from Boston, Texas, Ontario, Alberta and all over B.C., including local products Jagger Williamson, Tristian Quiring, Nick Higgs and Kenny Batke.

“Hopefully we come to a set roster by mid-September,” said Williamson.

Camp begins with practice at 9 a.m. In the afternoon, the group will be randomly split up into four teams with  games at 3 and 5 p.m.

“We are putting the teams together and we are gonna let them figure the game out,” explained Williamson.

The Vipers welcome new assistant coach and Stanley Cup champion Eric Godard behind the bench for camp.

“He has played at the highest level possible, the kids are going to relate to that and listen to what he has to say,” said Williamson.

The Vipers will skate Saturday morning, then host the Penticton Vees  in an exhibition match at 5 p.m. at Kal Tire Place.

Sunday, the snakes will be split up into teams for individual skate sessions.

The Blue all-stars will scrimmage the White all-stars Monday at 11 a.m.

The practices and scrimmages are free to the public.