West Ranch hockey’s Jack McNamara has been to four camps this summer, but his most recent one, the Air Force Academy Summer Showcase in Colorado Springs, has stood above the rest.
Along with Wildcat teammates Jack Titter, Justin Badillo and Dylan Durrell, McNamara played in games on Friday, June 22 and Saturday, June 23 against hockey players from across the country.
In the audience were scouts from AAA, Junior “A,” College and USA Hockey.
“You showcase yourself and then there’s tons of other coaches there and scouts watching you,” McNamara said. “One game there were two dozen scouts watching our game … it’s more of an opportunity for more people to see you at once.”
McNamara, who will be a senior at West Ranch in the upcoming season, embraced getting instruction from different coaches with his teammates all under the watchful eyes of scouts.
The only part of the showcase he didn’t like was the altitude.
“That was rough. It was just as soon as you would do your shift on the ice, you would just be fatigued,” McNamara said. “Almost instantly fatigued and it was harder to catch your breath when you got back on the bench. But as soon as you got on the ice, minute to minute and half and dead tired.”
Ten different teams consisting of about 20 players populated the showcase, which ended with an all-star series on Sunday. Although none of the Wildcats were selected for the all-star game, goaltender Jack Titter received two game pucks through his two days of play.
Spending time at the showcase motivated him to work on getting stronger in order to win battles along the boards, but also confirmed that he can keep pace with some of the best players in the country.
“I went into it thinking ‘How will I stack up to the other kids?’ because California is not known as a hockey state and I kind of took away from it that I have the speed to play with most of the kids in the game,” he said.
McNamara, a defenseman, will be attending a tryout for the Shreveport Mudbugs in Louisiana, a North American Hockey League team next week and has aspirations of playing college hockey at the Division 3 or Division 1 level.
But until then, he’ll be back at West Ranch next season along with Durrell, who plays left wing. Titter and Badillo, a center, both graduated.
“I think we’re going to surprise a bunch of people,” McNamara said. “I think that this year our team is going to have a shot at winning the league championship and we could have a couple players that would be scouted and moved into higher levels of junior hockey.”