The Spokane Chiefs opened their annual fall camp today at Spokane Arena, with the 66 players scrimmaging on three evenly split teams named for former captains Kevin Sawyer (1992-95), Jared Cowen (2006-10) and Tyler Johnson (2007-10). Sawyer, a part-time coach, and Johnson, property of the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, were both in attendance for today's scrimmages.
The Chiefs will be looking to replace the goal-scoring of former Spokane defenseman Brenden Kichton, who led the WHL in scoring among defensemen last season.
Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz is eager to see the competition between both new and experienced players. "We've got some young guys who have never been to camp before, and obviously they're cutting their teeth and then getting their first look at things," Speltz said. "We've got some veterans who are vying for spots and want to improve their position on the team."
Anticipation for fall camp was palpable for fifth-year right wing Mitch Holmberg, who relished in seeing the mixed bag of players. "It's definitely a fun time of year here coming into camp, obviously seeing all the new guys coming in," Holmberg said. "It's exciting for the old guys, just to get back in the room together and get out here for a couple skates."
Spokane selected 6-foot-2-inch defenseman Jeffrey Faith No. 16 overall in the Annual WHL Bantam Draft in March, and although Faith doesn't envision himself making the team right away, he's still looking to make a good first impression. "Coming in the first year, you know you're not going to be able to make the team. But at the same time, you want to show the coaches everything you've got and that they made the right decision," Faith said.
Spokane continues its intrasquad scrimmages tomorrow and Saturday, followed by the Red/White Game at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, which is free and open to the public.