MEDICINE HAT, AB – Close to a week of evaluations wrapped up at Kinplex on Sunday for the Medicine Hat Travelodge Cubs.
Training camp closed with a high-intensity exhibition game, as players on the bubble for the 23-man roster made their final impressions.
The Cubs picked things up with a Black/White intrasquad scrimmage, which was followed by a shootout competition between the two teams.
While it’s definitely a fun way to end the camp, the shootout also gave the coaching staff a glimpse at the skills on display from the incoming players.
Cubs head coach J.D. Gaetan said the team will be relying upon their wheels and explosiveness to pick up wins this fall.
“It looks like we're going to have a speedy team,” said Gaetan. “We're not the biggest team, but we definitely have speed and I think that's going to give some teams some trouble.”
Slated to be a rookie-heavy squad, many first-years will be coming straight from the Midget AA Hounds program.
With so many young skaters, the few returning players from last year’s Cubs squad will be relied upon to provide some veteran leadership.
One of those players will be centre Quinten Karg, who is set to enter his second season with the Cubs.
In 32 games with Medicine Hat in 2016-17, the Brooks product scored six goals and 13 points while adding 36 penalty minutes.
Karg said he’s seeing more of a buy-in from rookies at this training camp compared to previous campaigns.
“I see a team that's going to be more dedicated than in the past,” said Karg. “A bunch of young guys, they'll probably follow the leadership a little more than before. But, it should be a good year.”
Last year Medicine Hat struggled, finishing the season with an 8-24-6 record and were swept in two games by the Coaldale Copperheads in the opening round of HJHL playoffs.
Gaetan said another factor that remains up in the air is which players will still be available following junior ‘A’ camps.
“It's tough waiting, because you don't know what's going to come up and who's going to be here week after week until the season gets rolling,” said Gaetan. “It's tough playing the waiting game, but it's part of the league.”
The Cubs travel to Coaldale on Saturday for their first pre-season game of the year against the Copperheads.
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