It's been about nine months since the Winnipeg Jets have been all together on the ice playing hockey..yes hockey, the game we all know and love. The Winnipeg Jets training camp officially opened Sunday afternoon and every door was open at the MTS Centre. Over 5,000 fans showed up for their free popcorn and soft drink to watch their Winnipeg Jets run practice drills from 12-1pm.
Coaching staff was excited to get on the ice and catch up with their players and see what kind of shape they are in after the extended summer. Coach Claude Noel addressed the media for the first time in months and talked about how the first day of training camp went and just how much there was to do in such a short period of time.
"I'm very happy to be back on the ice and working with players," said Noel during his press conference. "I was very happy to see that we had around five thousand people there today and I thought that the enthusiasm and passion was terrific. We as an organization, and a team, appreciate them showing up."
2013 TRAINING CAMP CONTENT
In addition to the regular full time Jets players, there are six additional players that were invited to the Jets training camp. Mark Scheifele, Paul Postma, Zach Redmond, Maxime Macenauer, Derek Meech and Spencer Machacek. Each of these players will be battling it out in hopes to land a full time spot on the bench come Saturday...or soon thereafter.
Noel commented on seeing Scheifele for the first time and where he thinks he'll sit after this week.
"He's had a lot of activity lately in his life with the World Juniors," said Noel. "They got stuck overseas and weren't able to get back, then he dragged a flu bug back with him so he's just coming off of that. I liked him (today), I thought he battled hard, we'll see where that lands and where that goes.
"We'll take a look and see and make the assessments during the week," he continued. "I can't say that when you start on Monday with the team play that you'll be there on Friday or at the game on Saturday. It's going to be about winning, it's that simple. I don't know where people will land."
Training camp will run right up until the season opener, which is on Saturday January 19th. Counting Sunday, the camp will be six full days. A regular training camp runs for about three weeks, so this is cut in three to give you an idea.
"There's a lot to teach the players," said Noel. "There's a certain conditioning level we're trying to get to as a group and we don't know how long that's going to take. Will it be three games, five games, eight games or 12 games into the season? Our goal is to try to get us all at the same level at some point so we can all function better, I think we're going to be all over the map there.
"It's not going to be a six day fitness scenario for us, we're trying to manage it intelligently, because it's going to be about the games. I mean, it always is about the games, but in this short sprint, it's going to be what we're doing on the ice. We're trying to get to our A-game as quick as we can and to be a productive unit that reaches the playoffs."
Stay tuned to www.winnipegjets.com and watch JetsTV throughout the week for all of your training camp coverage.