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Booth impresses Hurricanes with revamped training routine

Conversation with assistant GM gave goalie, 20, 'wake-up call' to get in better shape

by Sean Shapiro / Correspondent

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Two years ago, goalie prospect Callum Booth had what he called a career-defining conversation at Carolina Hurricanes development camp.

Booth, who was selected by the Hurricanes in the fourth round (No. 93) of the 2015 NHL Draft, wasn't in the best shape. He was overweight and behind during fitness testing, and it impacted his ability to make saves on the ice. 

"We had a good talk and he took it to heart, and he lost about 5 or 6 percent of his body fat," Hurricanes assistant general manager Mike Vellucci said. "Very proud of him, he's worked very hard at it."

Booth, 20, looks back somewhat fondly on that conversation.


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"It became a huge part of my summer training," Booth said. "It was a wake-up call after I was drafted and I came into my first camp. And it was like, 'Oh my god, these are all men in amazing shape.' So you start to do things differently, which I try to do, and it's been working out so far."

Booth started working out more, making two-a-day training part of his summer routine through a combination of cardio and goalie-specific drills. He also changed his eating habits, paying closer attention to what and when he was eating.

"Dedicating yourself 100 percent to hockey on and off the ice," said Booth, who is 6-foot-4 and 191 pounds. "Hopefully that can help me in my future."

Video: Canes Prospect Profile: Callum Booth

Booth helped the Saint John Sea Dogs to a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship last season with a .923 save percentage and 1.67 goals-against average in 18 playoff games. Now, he's trying to carry that momentum into his first professional season, beginning with the 2017 Traverse City Prospects Tournament.

"It's really fast hockey," Booth said after making 34 saves in a 6-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings. "At the end of the summer, beginning of the season and it's been a while. I haven't seen shots and stuff. Just working making sure your feet are moving and being square to the puck and you're tracking it -- that's a big thing early in the season."

Booth said it could be a springboard to a strong training camp. Though the Hurricanes appear set with goalies Scott Darling and Cam Ward, Booth is competing with Jeremy Smith, Alex Nedeljkovic and Martin Ouellette for the starting job in Charlotte of the American Hockey League.

"That's a good feeling to know you can come in and win a job," Booth said. "Sometimes things are set and you have to accept that. But it's a nice opportunity when you know that your play will dictate where you end up."

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