Oil BaronsFort McMurray Oil Barons training camp is now in full swing, a whole month earlier than usual.
“Usually you’re starting camp with 40 to 50 kids,” said Gord Thibodeau, Head Coach and General Manager.
“Coming in with only 32 or 33, it’s changed what you can do at camp.”
The players have been hitting the Casman Centre ice since Saturday, and Thibodeau says their upcoming trip to Russia is in the back of their minds.
“I think everyone understands that there’s a bigger picture than just the regular season,” says Thibodeau. “There’s definitely a sense among them that this is a special year, and we want to build on that.”
The Barons will be practicing twice a day for the next few weeks.
Thibodeau says the staff is already impressed with the players’ camaraderie.
But the coach also says there might be some tinkering left to do with this year’s roster.
“I’d say we’re probably one veteran defenceman away from what we’d prefer, but we also like our rookie crop,” the coach said.
“We’d like to trade for a veteran guy, but at the same time, past years have taught us that maybe we’re better off working with good young talent and letting that mature.”
Thibodeau has already pulled off two successful trades for forwards.
He acquired former Drumheller Dragon Mike Marianchuk, and he sent last year’s backup goalie Davis Jones to Nipawin of the Saskatchewan league for Jamie Johnson.
Trading Jones left the MOB without any returning goalies. Three netminders remain in camp vying to replace the departed Jesse Kallechy.
They are: Logan Stebner, a former midget Barons goalie; Bryce Halverson, who played a game with the Calgary Mustangs after spending the season in minor; and Tanner Jaillet, a Red Deer minor hockey product.
Story from mymcmurray.com