© Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman
Travis Brown moves the puck up ice in action from last season.
Travis Brown has waited long enough for his first National Hockey League training camp.
Brown never got the chance to go to camp last year as the NHL lockout wiped them out. Now after a summer that was far too long for his liking, the 19-year-old Moose Jaw Warriors defenceman is excited to be heading to Chicago.
“I don’t want to over-do it. I just want to play my game. I want to do what got me noticed to get me drafted,” said Brown who will take part in the Chicago Blackhawks rookie camp and tournament this week. “I want to keep it simple and move the puck.
“I want to play solid defensively, take care of my own zone and chip in offensively when I can.”
The Warriors season was two months shorter last year than it was in his rookie year. While he hopes that doesn’t happen again, he tried to make the best use of his time as he could.
“I was able to do a lot of off-ice training and get a little stronger and a little faster,” said Brown who won three categories in the Warriors fitness testing — vertical leap, standing broad jump and push-ups and was fourth in the two-mile run.
“The off-ice training was probably the biggest benefit to the long off-season.”
Brown also took part in second summer developmental camp with the Blackhawks. The camp featured 45 players and took place from July 7-12.
“It was my second year going to the development camp, so I knew what was going on, I knew what to expect. I thought it went well,” said Brown.
Jason Bast was one of those players who took part in the Hawks summer camp. The 24-year-old former Warriors captain is still currently playing CIS hockey with St. Francis Xavier in Nova Scotia.
In his second full season in the WHL, Brown had career highs with nine goals and 39 points in 70 games. He was also minus-22 as he logged a lot of minutes with the struggling Warriors.
“Last year had its ups and downs. It was a learning experience with not winning as many games as we did in my rookie year,” said the 6-foot-2, 193-pound Brown. “There were a lot of learning curves as a team which I think made us mature as a group and I think that will make us a better team.”
Brown’s play mirrored the team’s ups and downs to some extent.
“It was a long season. That’s what we preached in our room: consistency. That has to be an area of big improvement this year,” said Brown. “It’s not putting too much pressure on yourself. You have to understand your game and what you bring to the table and trying to do that every night. You don’t want to get out of your element.”
The Winnipeg product is unsigned by the Blackhawks, but he wants to get to main camp and said he has his sights set on trying to make the team.
Brown will start that process by taking part in a rookie tournament with the Blackhawks from Sept. 5-8 in London, Ont. They will play rookie teams from Ottawa, Toronto and Pittsburgh.