The Manchester Monarchs kicked off their 2008 Training Camp on Friday with their first on-ice practice at Tri-Town Ice Arena. A nice crowd of fans showed up to watch the team practice for the first time this season. It was great to see the support and excitement. I spoke to many fans during practice and everyone seems to be equally energized for the hockey season to start.
Coach Morris broke the team up into red, gray, white, black and blue jerseys. The red jerseys were worn by Bud Holloway, Marty Murray and Scott Parse. The gray jerseys contained Gabe Gauthier, Vladimir Dravecky and Trevor Lewis. The defensemen were in black and Paul Crosty joined the six players on professional tryouts in white jerseys. The lone player in a blue jersey was center Justin Azevedo who is recovering from a broken wrist. He shadowed players on the ice to learn the systems but did not take any contact.
The coaching staff is encouraged with what they saw on the ice today. Nerves were evident at the beginning of practice but everyone settled in as they found their legs. Goaltender Jonathan Bernier felt good out on the ice as he recovers from a lower body injury.
Right wing Jon Rheault, a tryout for the Monarchs who played in both the Manchester Flames and Junior Monarchs organizations and calls Deering, New Hampshire home took the ice for the first time in a Monarchs uniform. Ironically, Rheault’s father, also named Jon, played at Colgate University with Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. Rheault’s family is also close with Director of Hockey Operations Hubie McDonough and his family.
Following the on-ice practice, the players talked to the media before heading upstairs for a workout led by Monarchs Athletic Trainer/Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Muir. Once practice was over, several players stopped by the office to pick up their mail before they were off apartment hunting. Saturday’s practice will be held at Sullivan Arena on the campus of Saint Anselm College from 4-5:30 p.m. Fans are invited to come see how the team looks as all practices during the 2008 Training Camp are open to the public.