Wednesday, 24 August 2011 15:42

Scarlett planning to mentor young Broncos

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By Chris Jaster — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reece Scarlett felt intimidated when he came to his first Swift Current Broncos training camp as a 15-year-old.

He was in complete awe of older players and how good they were.

Then, he had a conversation with Zack Smith in the locker room, which settled him down.

Now, the 18-year-old is looking to return the favour to the young players who are competing for a spot on the Broncos’ roster this season.

“For sure I’d like to be that guy,” said the Broncos’ defenceman. “I like to think I’m comfortable around Swifty now a days. I think I can say a few words.”

The Broncos are in the process of rebuilding so they can compete for a championship in a few years, which means a lot of young players will be at camp.

Although Scarlett is not the eldest member of the Broncos’ defensive unit, there will be a lot of eyes on him at Bronco training camp, especially based on his 2010-11 campaign.

Despite being a stay-at-home defenceman, Scarlett still led all Bronco blue-liners in scoring with 24 points last season. He also represented Canada at the IIHF Under-18 World Championship before being drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the sixth round.

The six-foot-one, 168-pound Sherwood Park, Alta., native has a tiny bit of experience with the Devils after attending the team’s development camp last month. Scarlett said the camp was kind of the same as other camps, but just with everyone at a higher skill level and coaches wanting things done in a slightly different manner.

He also came to Swift Current during rookie camp to warm up for when training camp started on Aug. 24.

Despite having all this experience and wanting to be a guy younger players approach in the locker room, Scarlett doesn’t anticipate being the guy to watch or the leader of the defence. Instead, he’s anticipating the team to use the same approach it did last year.

“Even with Eaks (Cody Eakin) gone last year, everybody tried to jump in and lead their own way,” he said. “I think it will be a lead by committee this year. Everybody has a role and that’s the way it has to be on the team.”

Regardless of the leadership role Scarlett, who is one of four Bronco players drafted by NHL clubs, takes, he admits he feels a lot less pressure heading into this season.

He no longer has pressure on him to be drafted by an NHL club and can focus on his game and improving on his -37 plus-minus rating last season.

“I’d really like to (break out this year),” he said. “I’ve really been working on all sorts of my skills. It’s definitely a year for me to shine. The draft is out of the way so there’s nothing left to think about. It’s just a matter of going out there and playing now.

“In a way, It’s going to be a load off my shoulders and I’ll just be able to go out there and play.”

The Broncos invited approximately 80 players to training camp this season. It will run through Aug. 28 with scrimmages set for 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. each night. All training sessions and scrimmages are open to the public.

The team’s black-white intrasquad game will be held Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. Tickets for the game are $5 each with $2 going to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Swift Current will open its pre-season schedule with a rookie game against Moose Jaw Aug. 30 at the Credit Union i-plex at 7 p.m.

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