This week Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis confirmed that the ’nucks will again be holding their training camp at Whistler’s Meadow Park Sports Centre, on Sept. 20-21.
The camp rounds out a week of testing, with the first prospect test on Sept. 12, followed by a prospect camp at UBC Sept. 13-14. The prospects will then fly to Alberta for a pair of games against the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames prospects, while the veteran testing will take place on Sept. 19.
The Whistler camp will be two days, and if past camps are any indication the public will be welcome for at least part of the camp.
Keith Tindle, the manager of Meadow Park, says this is the fifth time in the past 12 years that the Canucks have held the camp in Whistler and that it will be no trouble to accommodate the team for a few days.
“We do have a bit of history and tradition up here with the Canucks, they’ve been here five out of the past 10 or 12 years, and fortunately it’s at a time of the year when bookings aren’t very heavy,” he said.
“We don’t have all the details yet, but I’m fairly sure that it would be the same as past camps where the scrimmages have been open to the public free of charge.”
With the top prospects looking to prove themselves against the veterans, training camp hockey can be quite serious. Last year in Victoria several players were injured in intrasquad scrimmages — Sami Salo fractured his wrist, goalie Roberto Luongo got a slapshot in the throat, and other players and prospects suffered sprains and groin pulls.
It will be an interesting year for the Canucks after losing captain Markus Naslund to the New York Rangers, and veteran Trevor Linden to retirement. Several new faces will also join the offence and defence of the team, including Pavol Demitra and Nolan Baumgartner. The Canadian content of the roster has also been bumped up, with nine out of 13 forwards and four out of eight defencemen. Both goalies, Robert Luongo and Curtis Sanford, are also Canadian.
Exact details and times for the Whistler training camp are still to be released.