Montgomery hoping to make the most of final WHL season

Matthew Gourlie
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Brock Montgomery in action with the Kootenay Ice.

While a possible National Hockey League lockout won’t be a reality for weeks, the labour unrest is already having a trickle-down effect.

Moose Jaw’s Brock Montgomery is busy preparing for his final season in the Western Hockey League with the Kootenay Ice. The 20-year-old was hoping he would get a chance to impress some NHL coaches as well, but the annual Traverse City rookie tournament was cancelled Thursday.

The Dallas Stars had invited the 6-3, 205-pound right winger to play for them at that tournament, but that won’t happen now that the 15th edition of the event won’t go ahead.

“I was supposed to go down to Dallas’ (rookie) camp, but it doesn’t sound like that will be a go any more,” said Montgomery who was a guest coach at the Moose Jaw Generals main camp.

“I’m not trying to worry too much about it. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs over my career, so I don’t see it as too much of a setback,” added Montgomery who wasn’t selected in the WHL draft. “It would have been exciting to go, but the big thing is being healthy and ready to go for this season. I’ll try to prove myself during the season.”

The Traverse City tournament was to begin on Sept. 15, the same day that the current collective bargaining agreement expires. The annual tournament is hosted by the Detroit Red Wings and features the top rookie prospects for eight NHL teams.

Montgomery figures he will have a whole season to make an impression at the next level. But first he will have to impress new Ice head coach Ryan McGill and crack the lineup.

The Ice could have as many as seven players eligible to fight for those three overage spots, but Max Reinhart is expected to make the jump to the pro level. Still with defencemen Luke Paulsen and Joey Leach, plus forwards Drew Czerwonka, Dylen McKinlay and Elgin Pearce battling Montgomery it should be a competitive camp.

“First I want to make the team and then I have personal goals that I set for myself every year. I write them down and when I come home from the rink I look at them and see how close I am to them,” said Montgomery. “Last year I exceeded my goals, so this year I bumped them up a little bit. I hope I can have a better season.”

After winning the President’s Trophy with the Ice in 2011, he had a career year in 11-12. He notched 22 goals and 44 points and most importantly played all 72 games after an injury-filled 18-year-old season.

Organizations: Western Hockey League, National Hockey League, Detroit Red Wings

Geographic location: Traverse City, Moose Jaw, Dallas

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