Soo Greyhounds Bantam Camp Wraps Up

By Brad Coccimiglio
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds held their first ever Bantam mini-camp on Monday August 28th and Tuesday August 29th. The camp was for all players selected in the 1999 OHL Bantam Draft or in the 2000 OHL Priority draft who were of Bantam age. In total 23 players attended the 2 day camp.

10 players from the Bantam camp are eligible to attend the Greyhounds main camp and compete for a spot on the Greyhounds roster when the team opens up the full camp on August 30th. Those 10 players include defensemen Chris Martin, Dustin Van Ballegooie, Tyler Campbell, and Jeremy Swanson, centres Brent Crawford, Cliff Miller and Craig Meredith as well as wingers Mike Melinko, Tyler Barath and Brett Trudell. Swanson and Trudell were the Greyhounds top 2 selections in the 2000 OHL draft. Swanson was selected in the 1st round (16th overall) while Trudell was selected in the 2nd round (36th overall). The other 8 players were selected in the 1999 OHL Bantam Draft.

By the looks of things the Greyhounds may be in for another successful season. Four players in particular, all defensemen, used this 2 day mini-camp to showcase themselves to Greyhounds management. They include Dustin Van Ballegooie, Jeremy Swanson, Chris Martin and Tyler Campbell.

Van Ballegooie, who was the Greyhounds 2nd round pick in the 1999 Bantam draft, spent last winter with the Soo Thunderbirds. At 5’11” and 170 lbs he’s not going to be overpowering when it comes to throwing a hit, but he picks his spots very well. Van Ballegooie moves the puck well also and is a smooth skater.

Swanson comes into the Greyhounds training camp this year with a lot less fanfare than the Greyhounds 1999 first round pick Trevor Daley. Nevertheless, Swanson is a good defenseman. He has a good offensive upside and is a good skater and his puck handling skills are good as well. The only knock on Swanson is the fact that he is a bit on the small side at 5’11” and 165 lbs. If he could add 5-10 lbs of muscle it could be of help to his all around game.

In Martin the Greyhounds are getting a solid defenseman. Martin uses his large frame to his advantage. His puck handling skills need some work but should come with time as he is still young. Martin is also very mobile for his size (6’03” 190 lbs) and likes to join the rush.

Campbell is somewhat of a surprise as he was a late pick in last year’s Bantam Draft (he was picked in the 7th round 137th overall). Campbell seems to be an above-average skater and is good with the puck. The only knock against Campbell could be the fact that he doesn’t use his big frame (6’00” 200 lbs) more often to his advantage.

Another player who had a pretty impressive camp was left winger Chris Gill. Gill was selected in the 4th round of the 2000 OHL draft. Gill, despite being a bit small at 5’11” and 165 lbs, showed a good mix of speed and offensive skill.

If this camp was any indication the Greyhounds should be in good shape for at least a couple more season. The Greyhounds future looks very bright.