Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart says that the staff has done the difficult task of narrowing down the roster from 39 camp attendees to 24 players for the first exhibition game. He says that the task of narrowing down the roster for the season opener only gets more difficult as players potentially return from Junior A tryouts.
"This is a frustrating time of year," he said, "Some of the guys that are with us now will not be with us a week from now."
But looking back on camp, Stuart is pleased with the camp.
"It was intense and competitive. It cranked up as the camp went along. The practice on Friday was actually quite hard.
"I am impressed how in shape a lot of the new guys and veterans were."
Compared to last season, there are more veterans returning to the lineup.
Both James Farmer and James Rota finished last season playing defense, but are moving up to forward - where they started last season - and joing Nicholas Ketola and Brandt Bertoia as returning forward. The reason for the move is because of the number of returning veterans that are defencemen: Devon Langelaar, Mason Palaga, Lucas Purdy, Harrison Risdon, Brett Roberts, and Tyler Van Steinburg.
Having that many returning veterans on defense may seem problematic, but Stuart is happy with it, "It makes it easier on the coaching staff to have six defenders.
"They all showed well on the weekend, and have made it tough for us to determine who plays in which situation."
Between the six defenders, they have experience as they combine for 377 regular season KIJHL games, and 121 playoff games.Three of them are also 20 year-olds: Langelaar, Palaga and Roberts, which brings maturity.
Roberts is a somewhat familiar name to Nitro's fans as he was acquired during the 2016 off-season, but played with the Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL) last season. He joins the Dynamiters this season to finish out his junior career because he wants to play on a winning team.
Newcomer, Palaga, who played with the Chase Heat last season, was thrilled with the camp experience. "It was a whole new experience, I absolutely loved it.
"The arena is really what caught my attention. Personally, I like to skate the puck a lot, and the ice is a lot wider and longer in this arena, I really think it could work out to my advantage this year."
Not to mention, he is excited with the potential that the team has.
"I think we are looking really strong. Our defense is looking stupid good." Palaga said, "Every pairing we have would be a top pairing on most teams in the KI.
"We are going to have a really good run this year, hopefully win it all."
Returning Nitro, Bertoia, shared similar enthusiasm after shining during camp, "We aren't going to settle for anything less than a KIJHL championship."
As for Stuart, he doesn't want to judge the teams future based on camp and few pre-season games. He says that August 29th's preseason roster in Creston will be an extended camp evaluation to see some players play against an opposition instead of teammates and friends.
As for the roster on September 5th's preseason game in Kimberley, he expects it to be closer to the opening day roster.
August 29th's game in Creston starts at 8:30pm, and September 5th's game starts at 7:30 in Kimberley.
MATCH STICKS: Several players remain at tryouts with other teams: George Bertoia, Matt Davies, Nic Herringer, Brandon Langridge, Caige Sterzer, and Cody Campbell.