Young Ducks Eager to Make an Impression in Rookie Tournamentby Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara / AnaheimDucks.com
IRVINE, Calif. -- There is a heightened sense of excitement and anticipation inside the Ducks locker room on the eve of the 2019 Anaheim Rookie Faceoff presented by McDonald's. The six-team rookie tournament begins tomorrow at Great Park Ice & FivePoint Arena, and will display some of the top prospects from the Ducks, Avalanche, Coyotes, Golden Knights, Kings and Sharks. All three Ducks games will be played at FivePoint Arena.
San Diego Gulls head coach Kevin Dineen will be running the Ducks bench for the tournament. This is his second stint with the organization after spending six seasons as head coach of the Portland Pirates (AHL) from 2005-11, leading his teams to a 266-155-59 record in 480 games. Portland was Anaheim's primary development affiliate from 2005-08. Dineen says his message to the players here is simple.
"Everybody has an advocate, meaning there's a scout, GM or somebody in player development that believes in them," he said. "Go out there and know you've got an opportunity. At these camps, it's not only your own staff, but there are five other teams that will be here. A lot of eyes on you, so make a good impression."
Not all of the 28 players in camp this year have gone through something like this before. The Ducks drafted Brayden Tracey less than three months ago when they selected him 29th overall in the first round. The 18-year-old Calgary native is eager to make his presence known in the tournament. "I'm going to play my heart out," Tracey said. "Play with a big heart. They picked me for a reason."
Like many first-timers, Tracey is trying to absorb as much information as he can. It helps when some of that guidance comes from a guy like Ryan Getzlaf, whom Tracey was skating with prior to the start of rookie camp. "He's a guy you look up to as a kid," Tracey said. "Seeing him around the ice, teaching you how to do things is pretty surreal. There are a lot of good guys here. You can learn something from them."
Jacob Larsson is one of the more experienced players at rookie camp, and one of a handful that has NHL experience. The 22-year-old former first-round pick is looking to use the tournament as a springboard for main camp, which begins next week. "I want to play a solid game," he said. "It's the first game of the year, so the timing will be a little off, but I want to play a solid game. Make simple plays."
When asked what he expects from the sold out crowd tomorrow night, Larsson's eye got big. "It's going to be loud," he said. "It's always fun when people show up for these tournaments. We're excited for it, for sure. It's [going to be] a pretty fast game out there because everybody has something to prove."
Notes on the tournament
Though tomorrow's Ducks game is sold out, fans can still purchase tickets in advance for the club's Sept. 8 game vs. San Jose (5 p.m. PT) and Sept. 10 vs. Vegas (3 p.m. PT), along with the six other games in the tournament ($10) by clicking here.
Every game of the tournament will be streamed live on each participating team's website and screen in the NHL mobile app. (Live game streams will only be available in each participating team's broadcast market.)
Parking for the entire tournament will be complimentary. Great Park Ice & FivePoint Arena is located at 888 Ridge Valley, Irvine, CA 92618.
Anaheim Ducks | Arizona Coyotes | Colorado Avalanche
LA Kings | San Jose Sharks | Vegas Golden Knights
Saturday, Sept. 7
Colorado vs. Vegas - 1 p.m. PT at FivePoint Arena (Rink 4)
Arizona vs. San Jose - 3 p.m. PT at Rink 3
LA vs. Anaheim - 5 p.m. PT at FivePoint Arena (Rink 4) *Sold out*
Sunday, Sept. 8
LA vs. Colorado - 1 p.m. PT at FivePoint Arena (Rink 4)
Vegas vs. Arizona - 3 p.m. PT at Rink 3
San Jose vs. Anaheim - 5 p.m. PT at FivePoint Arena (Rink 4)
Tuesday, Sept. 10
Arizona vs. Colorado - 11 a.m. PT at FivePoint Arena (Rink 4)
LA vs. San Jose - 1 p.m. PT at Rink 3
Vegas vs. Anaheim - 3 p.m. PT at FivePoint Arena (Rink 4)