Corley and Esteves make Warriors main camp
© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
Goalie Alex Corley sprawls to deny Ryan Bowen in front of the net during the Moose Jaw Warriors Black-White intrasquad game.
There’s no such thing as too much competition in the eyes of the Moose Jaw Warriors’ head office.
The Western Hockey League team has 50 players on their protected list, but managed to find room at main camp for a player of players who weren’t on that list, but impressed anyway.
American goalie Alex Corley and Winnipeg forward Gianluca Esteves both came to camp as unlisted invitees and both were among the 36 players who took part in Sunday’s Black-White intrasquad game.
“I just wanted to get the experience,” said Esteves. “Being able to play with a bunch of big guys like Morgan Rielly and watching what he does on and off the ice is good experience. You get used to what the next level is going to be like.”
“Getting experience is the number one thing for me.”
Esteves went to camp with the Portland Winterhawks last year before playing with the Winnipeg Monarchs in the midget city league. The five-foot-nine speedster was around the puck throughout the camp and was constantly battling on the forecheck.
“I want to finish my checks and show them I’m an all-around player. I want to use my speed, I think that’s one of my strengths, and be the best player I can be,” said Esteves. “I knew coming in and work hard and show I was better than some of the other guys they had here.”
If Esteves doesn’t stick around Moose Jaw he will be going to the Winnipeg Blues Junior A camp and failing that would play in the Manitoba Midget AAA League with Winnipeg Wild.
Corley is a 16-year-old from the Denver suburb of Westminster, Colo. He spent last year with the famed Shattuck St. Mary’s program in Faribault, Minn. that produced Sidney Crosby, Jack Johnson, Nathan MacKinnon and Zach Parise to name a few.
“I love it at Shattuck. It’s a great school, great kids. It’s a great all-around program. I love it there,” said Corley who is, nonetheless, looking at possibly moving on. While most players at Shattuck are looking to play NCAA Division I hockey, Corley is interested in seeing what the WHL has to offer.
“I’ve been looking at the WHL for awhile and comparing it with the D1 route. This summer I decided that this was something I was going to look at as a possibility and the spot just happened to open up here,” said Corley.
“There are some kids off of the (Shattuck) U16 team that have been going to the (OHL) — like Mason Kohn in Kitchener and there’s a couple of kids who are in camps now including Jeremy Brodeur who I played with last year.”
Jeremy Brodeur — the son of New Jersey Devils legend Martin Brodeur — is at camp with the Oshawa Generals. Kohn, a 16-year-old centre, signed with Kitchener in the spring.
Corley, was born in 1996, but is heading into Grade 11 due to having a late birthday per American school standards. Last year playing for Shattuck’s midget AA team he had a 27-1-1 record, a 1.00 goals-against-average and a .943 save percentage.
“I’m definitely open to that possibility. I would definitely have to have a couple of talks with the staff to figure that out. If I’m going to give up my college eligibility, I want it to be a real opportunity,” said Corley who gave up four goals in the Black-White scrimmage, but has been playing well in camp.
“I had a little bit of a groin issue (Friday), which is why I sat out (Saturday) morning, but I felt totally comfortable with the pace and everything,” said Corley. “Coming off of main camp I went to with Fargo of the USHL, the style of play is pretty similar. There’s a lot of big guys and physicality in the game. I think that prepared me well for this camp.”