The addition of a supplemental draft is among the two changes the North American Hockey League announced Friday for this year’s draft of the Tier II junior A league.
Junior players are ages 16 to 20.
The Fairbanks Ice Dogs are among the 27 teams in the league, which will conduct its supplemental draft on May 12 and the regular NAHL Entry Draft on July 21.
The changes to the draft process come after the NAHL Board of Governors recently approved changes to the league’s player procurement system because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the league in March to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 season and postpone NAHL teams’ pre-draft evaluation camps and the league’s combines.
Traditionally, NAHL teams use in-season scouting, evaluation camps and combines to help select players for the entry draft.
The Ice Dogs, like other NAHL teams in 2019-20, were able to do in-season scouting.
“Up to this point, we’ve done our work all year,” Ice Dogs general manager Rob Proffitt said by phone Friday. “Our scouting staff, which runs clear across North America and even into Europe, have done their job, have identified players.”
The Ice Dogs have 12 scouts.
The Ice Dogs were scheduled to have three pre-draft evaluation camps in May.
The first one was slated for May 15-17 at the Kensington Valley Ice House in Brighton, Michigan. The second one was set for May 23-25 at the Dakotah Sports Center in Prior Lake, Minnesota, and the third evaluation camp was to take place May 29-31 at the City National Arena in Las Vegas.
The Ice Dogs, Proffitt said, decided last week to just to conduct their main camp June 26-29 in Prior Lake.
“We’re going to stick with that and not have any (pre-draft evaluation camps) because we’ve identified (prospects),” said Proffitt. “We’re now inviting kids to participate in that camp.
“It will be a little bigger than our usual main camp, but it will still be full of talent. Our veterans will be there, tenders, etc.
“It’s going to change a bit but not terribly drastic, other than eliminating the pre-draft (camps) and having main camp only.”
A tender in the NAHL is a sort of a contract. It involves a player who signs with the intention of playing for a particular team and that team only.
Once a player signs a tender with an NAHL club, his playing rights belong to that team and he may not be recruited by any other NAHL team.
Each team is granted 10 tenders — plus or minus any trades — which become active Nov. 1 of each season.
Tendered players aren’t eligible for either NAHL draft.
The order which teams pick players in the NAHL Entry Draft isn’t affected by the addition of the supplemental draft
The NAHL Supplemental Draft will consist of 81 selections with each team receiving three picks. The draft order will be determined by order of the NAHL Entry Draft.
Also, each team will be given an additional tender on May 13, which can be used after the supplemental draft.
Before the entry draft, NAHL teams turn in their protected list of tenders and veterans in order to determine the number of picks they will have in the entry draft.