The Lethbridge Hurricanes will kick off their 2012 Training Camp on home ice Tuesday, August 28th at the ENMAX Centre. Camp this year will play host to close to 80 participants and include half of the 2011-2012 team.
Not returning to this year’s Hurricanes squad are Juraj Bezuch (waived ahead of the Import Draft and picked up by the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers), Phil Tot (traded to Tri City), Landon Oslanski (waived and picked up by Everett) and Liam Liston (traded to Vancouver). Other players who left the team in the off-season were Max Moline (retired to pursue his education at the U of L) and Tyler Kizuik (also heading to the U of L).
In the days leading up to camp, a preview of each position and some key players to watch. First up is a look at the battle in between the pipes.
The Hurricanes made a splash at the 2012 Bantam Draft back in May when they beat out half a dozen other WHL teams who were hoping to acquire the services of all-star Goalie Ty Rimmer. The Canes were able to make a trade with Tri City to add Rimmer to their roster. Last season with the Americans the 20-year old native of Edmonton, AB had a banner year finishing with a 31-12-1-1 record in 46 games. He also had five shutouts and led the WHL in goals against average (2.43) and save percentage (0.922), earning Western Conference Goaltender of the Year and first-team all-star nominations.
Fighting for the backup spot are Tanner Kovacs, Jonny Hogue, Ryan Ferguson and Christopher Tai who are all looking to impress the coaching and scouting staff coming into camp a year older and with more experience under their belt. Of particular note is 18-year old Tanner Kovacs. He started last season with the club, but was eventually sent back to the AJHL to play with his hometown team, the St. Albert Steel. Kovacs played 3 games before being reassigned and in 16 games with the Steel he posted a save percentage of .873 and a GAA of 5.19.
Ryan Ferguson who was drafted in the 4th round (69th overall) in the 2010 Bantam Draft will be attending his third camp with the Canes. Christopher Tai, of Delta, BC was listed by the Canes following Camp in 2010. Tai was named the Major Midget League Player of the Month back in February (allowing just 5 goals on 120 shots faced) and played a key role in the Greater Vancouver Canadians push to the playoffs while trying to earn a spot at the prestigious TELUS Cup.
Lethbridge native and 8th round (158th overall) 2011 Draft pick Jonny Hogue is back for his second WHL camp. Hogue practiced with the team on a number of occasions last year and even joined them on a late season road trip where he served as the backup to Liam Liston while Damien Ketlo was out with the flu. Hogue was solid in goal for the Lethbridge Pronghorns of the AMHL finishing with a .896 save percentage and a 3.53 GAA. Hogue attended the U17 Pacific Region Summer Camp in Kamloops, BC last month and will hope to make the 22-man roster for the Under-17 Hockey Challenge later this year. He also took part in Turning Point Sports Management Development Camp in early July.
The other goalies to watch at camp are 15-year olds Eric Szudor, Alexandre Pelletier, and Brody Dirk. The 6’2, 175 pound Szudor was drafted in the 6th round (121st overall) and posted a .907 save percentage and a 4.46 GAA in 20 games with the Edmonton KC Bantam Chiefs (AMBHL).
(From Esther Madziya, Hurricanes Media Relations)