SIOUX CITY | Does Connor Mayer have a chance to make the Sioux City Musketeers’ 2015-16 roster?
A puck-moving, swift-skating defenseman, the 5-foot-9, 175-pound 16-year old from Champlin, Minn., is one of 80 skaters from throughout North America who will compete in the Musketeers’ Futures Camp which starts today and concludes Friday at the IBP Ice Center.
Musketeers general manager Mark LeRose said Mayer (3 goals 12 assists at Benilde St. Margaret’s in 2014-15) can rush the puck and play solid defensive hockey. He adds that Mayer can also contribute in the offensive zone.
“Connor is coming to camp trying to make a team, but realistically, it may be a stretch for Connor to make the jump from Minnesota high school to the USHL,” said LeRose, who’s in his second season as Musketeers’ GM. “We are not looking to rush his development. How he does in our camp will determine where he plays next season.”
LeRose said he prefers not to compare any of the young players with Musketeers’ alumni. He does not like to put unrealistic expectations on those playing their first games in the United States Hockey League, but is confident that fans will enjoy Mayer and all of the players selected in last month’s USHL Phase 1 Draft with their high-level skills in the near future.
One of the aspects of the Futures Camp and next week’s Main Camp is a talk from head coach Jay Varady about the Musketeer way. Some of these campers will eventually play in Sioux City, but some may never get the opportunity to play in the USHL.
“Jay has a very measured approach and an honesty in explaining the situation to these young athletes and their parents who are new to the process,” said LeRose. “It is not easy to make a team in the USHL and it’s even harder to succeed. It takes a lot of skill and perserverance in order to succeed at this level and only time will tell which players have the required qualities. They are all good players that will be at camp, but only their determination will decide if they get to play in the Tyson Events Center in the near future.”