COLUMBUS, OHIO — The Columbus Blue Jackets will take their first on-ice steps towards the opening of the 2007-08 season September 7-11 as 25 players will participate in a rookie camp and prospect tournament at the Center Ice Arena in Traverse City, Michigan. Participating players will undergo physicals and fitness testing on Thursday, September 6 at Nationwide Arena.
This year will mark the seventh-straight in which Columbus has participated in the Annual NHL Prospect Tournament and the Blue Jackets have won the tournament championship the past two years. NHL clubs participating this year include the Atlanta Thrashers, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Practice sessions and tournament games will be held on the facility's two sheets of ice – David's Rink and the Republic Rink – located at 1544 Hammond Road, Traverse City, Michigan 49686 (Phone – 231/933-7465). The Blue Jackets will play in the Western Conference along with Dallas, Minnesota and St. Louis. The Eastern Conference will consist of Atlanta, Detroit, NY Rangers and Tampa Bay. Click here for Columbus' schedule.
The Blue Jackets' rookie camp roster will feature 25 players, including 21 who were selected by the club via the NHL Entry Draft. Leading the group will be the club's first round selections from the past two Entry Drafts – center Derick Brassard (2006) and right wing Jakub Voracek (2007). Also highlighting the camp will be two-time Western Hockey League Top Defenseman winner and 2005 third round pick Kris Russell. Goaltender Steve Mason and right wing Stefan Legein will not participate in the camp due to their participation with Team Canada in the Canada/Russia Super Series.
Voracek, the seventh overall pick in the 2007 Entry Draft, scored 23-63-86 with 26 penalty minutes in 59 games with Halifax (QMJHL) in 2006-07. He led the club in points and his 63 assists set a single season club record. Brassard, the sixth overall pick in 2006, collected 6-19-25 in 14 games with Drummondville (QMJHL) after missing most of the season with a shoulder injury. In 2005-06, he tallied 44-72-116 en route to being named First Team QMJHL All-Star and received the Michael Bossy Trophy as the league's best professional prospect. Russell, the club's third pick, 67th overall in 2005, tallied 32-37-69 in 59 games with Medicine Hat. He won the Four Broncos Trophy as the WHL Player of the Year, as well taking home the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as the league’s Defenseman of the Year for the second consecutive year.
The Blue Jackets rookies will be coached in Traverse City by Ross Yates, head coach of the club's AHL affiliate Syracuse Crunch. He will be assisted by Crunch Assistant Coach Trent Cull. Columbus General Manager Scott Howson, Director of Player Personnel Don Boyd and Director of Amateur Scouting Paul Castron will lead members of the organization's hockey operations staff who will also be on hand for the camp and tournament.
Blue Jackets veterans and rookies will officially open the club's seventh training camp with physicals and strength testing on Thursday, September 13, before taking the ice for the first time on Friday, September 14. A complete schedule will be released prior to the opening of training camp.
Tickets for 2007 preseason games are on sale now. Individual tickets for 2007-08 regular season home games go on sale Saturday, September 15 at 9 a.m. at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, The Blueline Team Stores at The Chiller Ice Rinks and The Mall at Tuttle Crossing and all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers. Fans can also purchase tickets by phone at (614) 431-3600 or online at www.BlueJackets.com and www.ticketmaster.com. Season and group tickets are on sale now. For information, call (614) 246-PUCK or (800) NHL-COLS.