My experience in Penticton for camp has been really great. I’ve never been to a camp where they take it out of the city and open it up to the public like this.
It’s pretty special to see the kids faces and how they light up because we’re here. During the ice clean, you see the kids come up to the glass, knock on the glass and wave and smile so it’s fun so just acknowledge them and see their faces.
It’s especially nice to go into these small communities and bring a human element to the guys they see on TV all the time.
My hometown is smaller than here so I can’t even imagine what it would’ve been like if something like this happened there. I didn’t see an NHL game until probably in high school so that was pretty special. I watched the Bruins and the Winnipeg Jets and that was incredible so being a little kid and seeing something like this is very extraordinary for them.
We really just got here but camp’s already and over the preseason begins tomorrow. I’m extremely excited for the games to start.
The preseason schedule is quite heavy with the number of games in a short amount of time but last year, I think I played in seven of the nine games so it’s not entirely unfamiliar to me.
In fact, when I was in Florida, we played everyday for six days. There were two teams so teams were flying between cities the entire time. It was really taxing with a lot of travel so by the end of the preseason, we were completely gassed. I don’t think it can be as bad as that was so I’m prepared.
This year, my situation is a little different after having played a year with the team but at the same time, there are still roster spots to fight for so my approach won’t change. There are still guys coming in trying to take you’re job. I still need to prove that I belong in this League. It’s a daily thing and you can’t take a shift off. I’m going to push it the same way I did last year.
It’s nice to be familiar with the people you’re dealing with and know how things work logistically but you can’t rest on the fact that you’ve been here a year because there are the same challenges.
I’m also excited to go back to Vancouver and play at Rogers Arena. It’s such a beautiful facility and really feels like home now. Last year, it was exciting because it was new and being from Canada, getting the support from all the fans – all of it was different and now it does feel like home. I’m excited about playing in front of the fans again.