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2011 Rookie Camp Opens for 35 Young Players

by Anthony Perez | Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE – The Coyotes’ lengthy off-season officially ended on Saturday afternoon as 35 young players hit the ice inside Arena for the first on-ice workouts of the annual training camp for rookies.

Ray Edwards, who is the head coach of the Coyotes’ new AHL affiliate in Portland, Maine, led two separate squads through drills which focused on everything from skating to transitioning up and down the ice. New Development Coach Dave King and AHL coaches John Slaney and Mike Minard assisted Edwards during the two 75-minute sessions.

►Click here to listen to an interview with Edwards.

The rookies warmed up with a soccer ball. Photo by Norm Hall.
Top prospects Chris Summers, Brandon Gormley, Andy Miele and Mark Visentin took part in the workouts, as did 10 players who are in camp on an amateur tryout basis.

Summers, whom the Coyotes selected in the first round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, said he sensed some nervousness in the dressing room before Saturday’s workouts.

“It was a good day,” said the defenseman, who is attending his second rookie camp. “Guys were definitely getting the jitters out, playing in front of a good crowd that came to support us, which is great. And you had scouts up there and coaches up there watching you.”

Visentin, a first-round draft pick in 2010 and last season’s Ontario Hockey League Goaltender of the Year, also is making his second appearance at rookie camp.

All the sticks are ready to go. Photo by Norm Hall.
“It’s nice to come back,” Visentin said. “You know the atmosphere and who’s around… I’m starting to know more names and more players and it’s something I always look forward to, and you look forward to it more each year.”

Gormley, a first-round selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, said he’s going to try hard to earn a spot in next week’s training camp for veterans.

“You have to stand out amongst guys your own age and hopefully get a chance to prove yourself against the men here,” Gormley said. “So, I’m just trying to go out and do my best and work as hard as I can to get to that main camp.”

►Click here to view a photo gallery of the first day of camp.

Head Coach Dave Tippett has said that he’ll be watching Gormley closely at this camp. But the young defenseman says the pressure of being under the coaching staff’s microscope doesn’t faze him.

“That’s what you want,” Gormley said. “You want to have that pressure on you, and that’s what you work for, to get that opportunity to have them watch you.”

The rookies concluded their workout with a long skate. Photo by Norm Hall.
Four days of workouts and drills will culminate on Wednesday and Thursday when the Phoenix rookies take on the LA Kings rookie squad in El Segundo, Calif. (Both games will be streamed live here at

While the Coyotes’ hockey staff will be watching closely to see how the rookies stack up against another team, Visentin says he and his teammates can’t forget how important the days leading up to the games are.

“We still have a couple days of scrimmages where we have to focus on that first, and I think the biggest thing for us is coming together as a group, getting to know each other and creating some chemistry,” Visentin said. “So, the next couple of days myself and all the guys here will be working hard to get better and better each day, so come game time versus LA we’re going to give them the best we’ve got.”

►Click here to watch a recap of the first day of camp.
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