The Colorado Avalanche’s 2008 training camp is set to kick off Saturday, with 59 players fighting for roster sports on the NHL, AHL and ECHL levels.
The organization’s players met with the media Friday, and it’s easy to tell they are amped for not only the start of camp, but also the upcoming season.
“Summer just goes by quicker and quicker and it seems like you start to get the itch there a little while into it,” said Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles. “I think everybody is excited to be back and ready to get going again. I’m no different, that’s for sure.”
Newcomer Darcy Tucker said he has felt right at home in Denver, where the veteran forward has been training the past five weeks in preparation for camp.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to play for the Avalanche,” said Tucker. “The thing that I noticed the most early on being here are the young guys. We’ve got a good group of young guys and veterans.
“On a personal note, it’s great to get in early to meet all the guys, get used to them and know their personalities. It’s been fun so far and I can’t wait to get the real stuff started.”
Liles, like many of his teammates, also expressed his excitement about the Avalanche’s roster heading into the season, which includes new additions such as Tucker and netminder Andrew Raycroft. And while the players are glad to see the fresh faces, it’s safe to say they’re most pleased to have one very familiar face back – that of their captain, Joe Sakic.
“It’s great to have him back. Joe’s in as good of shape as anybody and on the ice he’s tremendous,” said Liles. “It’s great to have the guys that we’ve got coming back and a lot of the new guys too. With all of the skating that we’ve been doing together, it’s exciting right now.”
The players will be on the ice from approximately 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. on Saturday (Sept. 20), Sunday (Sept. 21) and Tuesday (Sept. 23). On Monday (Sept. 22), the Avalanche will play its annual Burgundy/White Game at Cadet Ice Arena on the grounds of Air Force Academy starting at 6:00 p.m.