John MacNeil / Independent editor
BIG VALLEY — Ty Mappin has been checking into summer camps left and right, but none of them would be mistaken for a vacation.
From a provincial development camp with Alberta’s top under-16 players to a national elite mentorship camp last week in Mississauga, Ont., it’s been a busy summer for the promising 15-year-old hockey prospect from Big Valley farmland.
“I haven’t had much of a summer, for seeing friends and stuff like that,” said Mappin, whom the Everett Silvertips selected seventh overall in the Western Hockey League bantam draft this past May.
“It’s just been go, go, go with hockey. But this is what I want. It will be good.”
The high-scoring centre just returned home from Toronto on Sunday, shortly after Hockey Alberta announced he was among 34 players shortlisted for the under-16 team that will represent the province in the Western Canada Challenge Cup this October in Moose Jaw, Sask.
“It’s looking pretty good so far,” Mappin said Monday. “It feels good, but it’s not done yet. You still have to keep working and try to make the team completely.
“I think I have a good chance of making it, but you never know.”
Mappin is among 12 players on the Alberta short list who were first round picks in the WHL draft. They survived a rigorous July camp in Camrose to make the final round of U16 tryouts for the final 20-man roster.
“It was a tough camp,” Mappin said. “The days were long, starting from 7 (a.m.) and ending at 10 some nights — just bad.”
The provincial camp brought together 80 players who were tested on the ice and educated off the ice, with nutrition seminars on the menu.
That experience served Mappin well last week as he attended a four-day camp in Mississauga for potential NHL players.
Ex-pro Gary Roberts, a fitness guru, gave pointers to the teenaged prospects, who also met NHL young guns Steven Stamkos and Jeff Skinner.
“It was an experience, that’s for sure,” said Mappin, who visited the Hockey Hall of Fame during his Toronto visit.
“There were some skates and some off-ice sessions with Gary Roberts. We had the mentorship game, too, which was on Saturday and it was even televised on TSN2.”
In that Schenn-versus-Spezza game, Mappin scored a goal as his team won in a shootout.
“Oh, it was crazy,” he said.
Then again, it’s been a crazy summer for Mappin, who skates this week in Red Deer before leaving for Minnesota for a camp with his agency, Octagon Sports.
Within a month, he’ll head to Everett, Wash., for his first major junior training camp with the Silvertips, and then back to Red Deer for a probable Alberta Midget Hockey League season with the midget AAA Optimist Rebels.
Mappin played bantam AAA last winter in Red Deer, which is about an hour and 15 minutes from his home, a cattle ranch south of Big Valley.