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by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
EDITOR'S NOTE: Below is a recap of Sunday's Rookie Camp workout. The camp continues Monday at 10 a.m. at Arena. The workout is open to the public. Fans can enter the arena through Gate 3.

The Coyotes began their 2009 Rookie Camp on Sunday inside Arena. Twenty-six players took the ice for a two-hour workout, which was witnessed by more than 200 fans hungry for hockey.

General Manager Don Maloney watched the workout from a seat in the section behind the Coyotes bench.

“This is terrific,” Maloney said. “It’s really a pleasant surprise that there are so many people here for a rookie practice. It’s really encouraging.”

The players will have more public on-ice workouts on Monday and Tuesday before leaving the Valley to play a two-game series against the Los Angeles Kings in El Segundo, Calif., on Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.

Kevin Porter, who played 34 games for the Coyotes in 2008-09, is the most recognizable name on the roster at this camp, which will lead to the official training camp on Sunday. Defenseman Jonas Ahnelov and forwards Brett MacLean and Chad Kolarik also are participating.

“It’s been a long day,” Kolarik said after the workout, which started at 2 p.m. “We’ve been here since 8 o’clock this morning getting our physicals. I actually went back and had a little nap and then we had an intense practice. It was a little bit of a bag session at the end but it was good, and it’s good to get a week under your belt before you get out there with Jovo and Doan and all those guys. That’s a big step for us so this week is good.”

Two of the six players the Coyotes selected at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft - forwards Jordan Szwarz and Evan Bloodoff - are on the Rookie Camp roster, although Bloodoff did not skate Sunday because of a nagging knee injury. Top draft pick Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the sixth overall selection in 2009, again is playing in his native Sweden this season.

Greg Ireland and Ray Edwards, who coach the team’s top affiliate in San Antonio, conducted Sunday’s workout. Coyotes coaches Ulf Samuelsson, Doug Sulliman and Grant Fuhr watched from afar.

Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving also watched from a seat in the lower bowl.

“This is a more traditional rookie camp than we had last year when we had four of five players we were looking at to jump in and grab a roster spot,” Treliving said. “...The last time we saw a lot of these guys was at our development camp in July, and you can definitely tell it’s more competitive now than it was then.”

Treliving said he and Maloney are always looking for surprises to emerge at the rookie camp.

“The guys who eventually play aren’t always the guys who are picked in the first or second round of the draft,” Treliving said. “We’ve got a lot of kids here who are on try-outs. Hopefully, one or two or more will pique our interest and show us something that will make us keep them here longer.”

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