Cougars GM Stoked for Training Camp
Prince George, B.C. – The Prince George Cougars are getting set to trade in their bathing suits and sunscreen for shoulder pads and hockey sticks.
Training camp officially starts next Friday of next week and general manager Todd Harkins is raring to go.
“It’s an exciting time for us in many ways because we get to see how much work the veterans have put in,” he says.
“The guys that have gone to development camps for the NHL teams and then also to see where our young draft picks fit in – the 2000 born players – from where they were drafted last year and where they fit in this year to see if they can make the step to the Western Hockey League.”
Over 80 players have been invited to camp and somewhere between 23-25 players are expected to end up sticking in Prince George.
As usual camp will last five days but considering their off ice moves this spring – including the hiring of Stanley Cup champion Richard Matvichuk as head coach – Harkins is expecting anything but a usual season.
“We’ve made the playoffs two years in a row but now we want to make some hay and I think that’s the expectation not only within the organization but with the players and making sure we hit our mark right off the start in Victoria.”
And how does Harkins define “making hay.”
“I don’t really like to put exact details on what our expectation is. We want to have success in the playoffs,” he says. “We’d like to go deep in the playoffs, we’d like to have this place (CN Centre) rockin’, we’d like to be playing when the sun’s out and it’s spring time in Prince George and I think that’s our expectation this year.”
He says the first taste of action comes Friday, August 26th at 4:00 p.m. with the Young Guns Game.
Training camp wraps up September 1st. The Cats them kick off pre-season action a day later when they face the Calgary Hitmen in Red Deer.
Tomorrow, the ice will be installed at CN Centre, including the Cougars logo into centre-ice.
The City of Prince George and the Cats are also expected to hold a joint news conference where its expected they will release details regarding CN Centre’s new jumbotron.