Players filed into Adams Ice Centre Wednesday afternoon as the Lethhbridge Hurricanes 2011 WHL training camp got underway.
As in past years, the younger players showed up during the first hour to register, get their photos taken, and get all their training camp assignments, followed by the vets. After that it was a meet and great with some of the local media waiting to chat with the players for the first time.
We had a chance to speak with the Hurricanes top bantam draft pick in 2010, forward Jay Merkley who was taken 3rd overall.
"Obviously my goal is to crack the roster this year. I've been working hard on and off the ice for the past year. I've gotten bigger and I've been working out hard. I definitely want to make this team and see how it goes from there. I'm a little bit nervous, but more excited I think. The nerves were last year a little bit and this year I'm more settled in and ready to go. Last year's camp was a bit of an eye-opener to see how fast and big some of those guys were. I've got to be ready this season. I've been waiting for this forever and counting down the days!"
Jamal Watson is also one of those players looking to make the Hurricanes for the first time too.
"Coming in here last year was setting a point that you want to be part of this team. This year it's really cracking the line-up and showing you can be part of the team and contribute on the ice. At last year's camp I noticed how guys are a lot bigger, faster, so you want to strive to be like them and play the level they're playing at."
Head Coach and G.M. Rich Preston addressed the media as the players were coming into the rink.
"It's good to get things going. The season comes around quicker ever year it seems and we're all really looking forward to it. You expect the players to stay focused over the next few days, especially the young guys coming in here with the frame of mind that they're going to make this team. That's the biggest thing. We have some 16 and 17 year olds that, some of them are going to make the team, not all of them, so this training camp and exhibition games will be a big test for them. We're really excited about the 94's and 95's we have coming in. Some of the 94's last year were really close to making our team and we expect them to be closer this year. Some of these players had really good years last year in AAA midget and grew as players. To see the size of some of them it shows they did some work in the off-season. We've got two 93's, Europeans, two new players to go along with the 94's and 95's, so we're really looking forward to seeing them in scrimmages."
This blog post is brought to you by www.clearlylethbridge.com.