KEVIN DINEEN, Portland Pirates Head Coach and Mighty Ducks Rookie Team Head Coach.
What are your feelings going into this rookie tournament with this young group of players?
“I don’t think a young coach could wish for anything more than the talent level that we have. It’s just an extremely skilled bunch and a lot of character kids. So, I have a lot of enthusiasm going into it. You can feel that our guys have that, too. They are looking forward to it. They have all been training for months, so it’s an exciting time for all of us.”
What are the benefits for the players participating in this kind of tournament?
“We are going to have a discussion before the first game with the kids. You look at the amount of staff that the Mighty Ducks will have here with Brian Burke, Bob Murray, Chuck Fletcher this week. Every team that is here is like that. We are going to have a heck of a lot of people watching these kids. You can’t get better exposure than that. I’m sure they will all bring their A game.”
CHUCK FLETCHER, Mighty Ducks Vice-President of Amateur Scouting and Player Development.
Is winning important in this tournament for the young players?
“That’s what we want to do, we want to win. We hope that a lot of them will play together in Portland in the coming years and eventually in Anaheim. So, you want to start to develop the habit of winning and competing for each other. Start to build some of that elusive quality of chemistry that’s so hard to get. That’s what this tournament is all about. Developing chemistry and learning how to win.”
What do you want to see accomplished at the end of the five day tournament?
“It gives us a great opportunity to watch the rookies and the young players play in an environment where they are competing against their peers and kids in their age group. Let’s be honest. A lot of these kids at the main camp will be overwhelmed and for many of them it will be their first experience playing against NHL players, so, it’s very difficult to gauge your ability in that environment. The whole purpose of this camp is for them to hopefully relax and be able to show their true abilities and true potential playing against players their own age. That’s the main thing. Obviously, we’d like to see our group of players play well and show as a group that we compare favorably with the other teams in the tournament. The other teams in the tournament are division rivals for the foreseeable future. So, we hope to come out of this with a good grasp of what kind of talent we have. We hope that talent compares very favorably to that of Los Angeles, San Jose and Phoenix.”