WENATCHEE — Beginning Monday, the Wenatchee Wild will start introducing their new players to the community. The team plans to post on their website (wenatcheewildhockey.com) a series of brief articles and photos about the incoming players.
“We introduce our players one at a time as they come in. It’s on our website. It’s a chance to let people know about the majority of new players that are coming in,” said Wenatchee Wild Head Coach Bliss Littler. “We’ll bring in 25-30 players and we’ll start practicing. You have to get down to 23 players but that roster can change until January 10.”
By Jan. 10, the roster must be finalized. The roster can change up until that date, due to trades and other reasons.
“This is something we’re excited about. These are our recruits. These are the kids that are coming in,” Littler said. “We’re getting people excited about the kids that came to our camp in May.”
The Wild roster is assembled by Recruiting Coordinator Leigh Mendelson. Littler said recruiting is a daily effort. Mendelson is on the road for two weeks of every month recruiting, not just watching kids play live, but also watching a lot of videos.
Littler said it amounts to a lot of texting, phone calls, and email. Once Mendelson has identified the top recruits, that is when Littler becomes involved. It’s a process he’s done many times over the course of his career. The team assembled looks to be another good one.
“We’ll have a very typical Wenatchee team that will be on the younger side but be one of the most skilled and quicker teams in the league. As the season progresses, our kids grow up a little bit. By Thanksgiving, we hope we are one of the better teams,” Littler said.
The Wild looks for players can play a fast and skilled brand of hockey. They put an emphasis on skating and skill. The biggest thing is they want kids that compete, he said.
The Wild has a specific recruiting base. Fifteen players must come from Washington, California, Colorado, and Arizona. They can also have four Canadians and four Americans from anywhere in Canada and the U.S.
The player features will be posted on the team’s website, Facebook and Twitter. There will be two per week in July, increasing to three per week beginning in August.
Littler is currently in Las Vegas at an exposure camp. This is where young hockey players are coming to be looked at by coaches. They are looking at players for next year or the year after, he said.