The Moose Jaw Warriors training camp opened without a couple of players.
Alaskan right winger Jake Garman (a seventh round pick in 2013) won't be attending camp to do personal reasons. Local product Bhody Magnusson (who is expected to play with the Moose Jaw Generals this season) also a no-show.
The Warriors did have late additions with local product Jeremy Bisson coming to camp. Bisson played Bantam AA last season and also attended Generals camp.
Nick Leitner (1998-born defenceman) and Jake Leitner (1997-born forward) were also late additions to the camp roster. The brothers hail from Bemidji, Minn.
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Royce Rossignol, a defenceman who played three games last season was not invited to camp this season. The same was true for Brandon Del Grosso who was injured when he was checked heavily into the boards by current Warriors defenceman Spenser Jensen when he was with Medicine Hat. It was Del Grosso's only WHL game as he missed the rest of the season.
Also absent is fourth round pick Dawson Haines (98), plus ninth rounders Patrick Rush (99) and Shane Roulette (97). Rush, who is from California, was at the Warriors spring camp.
Defenceman Darren Rizzolo (96) has committed to Northeastern in the NCAA and is not at camp. He was a seventh round bantam pick. Rizzolo will play at Yale Hockey Academy once again this season and then is headed to the BCHL's Chilliwack Chiefs for the 15-16 season.
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Monday's opening scrimmage went largely to plot. Brett Howden, Ryan Gardiner and Noah Gregor were a step ahead of the competition. All three are expected to make the team and
The experience of Ethan Lazaro and Dustin Perillat showed as well, while first round pick Josh Brook showed his ability to skate and some of his qualities.
The big surprise to me was invitee Jaxen Gemmell from Calgary. The 5-foot-11, 1998-born left winger showed great quickness and closing speed. He was tenacious on the forecheck and forced a number of turnovers. He had 18 points in 37 games last year in Minor Midget AAA in Calgary and 17 in 33 games the year before with the Calgary Royals Bantam AAAs. Given that, it's unlikely that he will be a big point producer, but he looked like an interesting prospect. Given his size and speed, he might be worth listing and keeping an eye on. He certainly out-shone some players with better pedigrees.
Ryan Bowen also had a good showing Monday night. The 2013 fifth rounder was 5-foot-8 and 135 lbs. when he was drafted. He is now 6-foot-1 and 165 lbs. A late '98 birthday, Bowen has signed a standard WHL contract with the Warriors, but is going to have a hard time finding a way to crack the roster in his 16-year-old season. That being said he showed speed, balance and good hands Monday. At times he could have used his teammates more, but he was hard to knock off the puck.
Moose Jaw's Ahmed Ally also had a nice outing. He went to the net and buried a rebound to open the scoring. His skating and his vision both stood out. He's a little raw, but he's only 15. In a game full of undrafted, camp invitees, he was one of the more impressive ones.
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The beat goes on in Lethbridge where 19-year-old defenceman Macoy Erkamps (who is a solid WHL defenceman despite his rather incredible minus-62 rating last season with the Canes) and Reid Duke (the fifth overall WHL bantam pick in 2011) both weren't in Lethbridge for the opening day of training camp.
Erkamps has demanded a trade and is staying at home. The Canes gave Duke until 2 p.m. Friday to report. When he did not the team suspended him.
The Canes traded away a lot of pretty talented players (many of whom asked/demaneded to be traded) last season and the black cloud over that franchise doesn't seem to be lifting.
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The Warriors have hung banners on High Street, Manitoba Street and First Avenue around Mosaic Place. One says "welcome to Warriors country" and the other contains the team's 30th anniversary slogan and logo: "united by history." It's a nice touch around the arena and should be a permanent edition. The 30th anniversary banners will come down after the season and will are expected to be replaced by another set of banners with a new theme and design.