The main task Vancouver Northeast Chiefs' head coach Doneau Menard faces this week is in practicing patience.
It's a skill the major midget hockey coach could teach a course in.
The Chiefs held its main camp on the weekend, rolling 80 players onto the Coquitlam Planet Ice sheets with an eye on talent evaluation.
Although a number of decisions were made, Menard will spend the next month juggling possibilities and planning options as he awaits news on how some of the squad's near-dozen eligible returnees fare at major junior and junior A training camps, which begin in earnest next week.
"The last couple of spots are always tough, no matter which position they fit," said Menard. "At this stage we're pleased with the players who've come out and now get ready to whittle [the player numbers] down through scrimmage and exhibition."
He anticipates as many as five veterans back in a Chiefs uniform."
There is plenty of pieces to make a very compelling puzzle come the start of the B.C. Major Midget hockey season.
Piece No. 1 comes in Dr. Charles Best student Mathew Barzal, who was the first pick overall in the Western Hockey League's bantam draft last May. The captain for the Western Canadian bantam champion Burnaby Winter Club was in full flight on the weekend, and as expected left a huge impression.
"Mathew was great, he looked really good," said Menard. "I think he'll make a quick adjustment to our league."
The club is also anticipating a changing of the guard on defence, with Derek Hughes graduating and both Michael Willms and Dalton Yorke pushing for promotion to the next level.
Between the pipes, both Daniel Urbani and Jeffrey Smith are looking to stick in junior A. It means a whole new tandem potentially.
The major midget season doesn't start officially until Sept. 22.
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