Despite the temperatures steadily in the 90s, hockey season is right around the corner. It’s late August and that means it’s time for training camp. The Huntsmen are in the middle of their first ever training camp this week in Exton at Power Play Rinks.
The team is hard at work and gearing up for their first season in the Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP). The EHLP is composed of 15 teams split into three divisions. The New England Division, Boston Division, and the Mid Atlantic Division. The Huntsmen are in the Mid-Atlantic Division.
A lot of things are going on during training camp for players. They are in the early learning stages of junior hockey. The pace and game style are different than youth, and the players are learning Coach Kilroy’s systems. The Huntsmen aren’t the only new team however, the Adirondack Thunder, and Union Thunder are also joining the EHLP. On Thursday (8-25) the Huntsmen will have an exhibition game against the Union Thunder. It should be a good experience for both teams since they are new, and they will see each other a lot since they share the Mid Atlantic Division. It is a preseason game so it will not air on HockeyTV, but we will keep you updated.
There’s plenty of work ahead for the players and coaches, but the excitement levels are growing. Cody Draves is new to junior hockey, and he shared his thoughts on the experience so far: “It’s a lot more intense than youth or high school, you have to work much harder. I’m local to the rink (Power Play) and have skated here since I was four years old. I saw the signs for tryouts, and I decided that I wanted to play here.” Training camp is in full swing and Draves knows that the hard work is just beginning. “It’s going pretty well; I’m putting in extra work on and off the ice. I love the energy and my teammates and I’m excited to keep working.”
Forward Carson Barrett had chances to play elsewhere but decided to play for a brand new organization and gave us his take on things so far: “For being a new team, they are structured very well. Everything has been well put together, skates have been good, and Coach Kilroy and the rest of the staff have been doing a great job to get us locked in. I knew I wanted to play here after talking to Coach Kilroy. He said to me ‘we may not be the 1st place team out of the gate, but we will be hard working and always put up a fight. Also, the league (EHLP) has a great reputation so playing in this league would be helpful to me.”
Next week, we’ll have a recap of the Union Thunder exhibition game and hear from Coach Kilroy about training camp as the season gets closer.
By Joe Sindoni
Play by Play Announcer