Another year, another set of up-and-comers from the Fort St. John Northern Metallic Flyers off to WHL camps.
John Herrington and Nathan Brownlee will be attending camps for the Prince George Cougars and the Edmonton Oil Kings, respectively, on Aug. 24.
“It’s pretty great, being from a smaller town where there’s not a very high level of hockey, lots of people move away for the recognition,” said Brownlee.
“Being here in Fort St. John it’s kind of harder so I feel pretty good about it.”
Brownlee will be headed to the Oil King’s rookie camp, which is the norm for 15-year-olds attending WHL camps. He’ll be competing against kids both 15 and 16, according to Craig Brownlee, Nathan’s dad and his coach with the Northern Metallic Flyers.
He will do a series of fitness testing and practicing, and will play four intersquad games to determine if he makes it to the main camp. Brownlee has been told by the Oil Kings that he has a possibility of continuing on from that day, which is exciting for both Nathan and Craig.
“It’s pretty neat, and I think it’s great. I’ve coached the Flyers teams the last two years and it’s nice to see that players up here are being recognized for their talent,” Craig said.
For Herrington, things will be a little different for him as the Cougars do not hold a rookie camp as other WHL teams do. Instead, he’ll be competing right away against 19 and 20-year-olds.
“It will be hard going against that type of competition but I’m really excited,” said Herrington.
Craig Brownlee said the competition will be intense for Herrington.
“He’s the type of player that thrives in any kind of competition like that, so I think he’ll do real well. I wont be surprised if he makes a good impression,” he said.
Unlike last year, when Connor Bowie was drafted by the Portland Winter Hawks, neither Herrington or Brownlee were drafted.
However, that doesn’t diminish their spirits or their chances for success.
“I’m nervous but I’m also pretty excited,” said Nathan.
Going forward, Nathan plans on returning to Fort St. John regardless of what happens, while Herrington is hoping to make the Prince George Cairbou Cougars, a major-midget team. He has currently advanced to their exhibition camp.
Nathan hopes to play well and hopefully get noticed by WHL teams again throughout the year.