Anaheim Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa spent 12 seasons with the Vancouver Canucks organization before being traded June 30. The 34-year-old took the ice with his new teammates for the first time Friday when the Ducks opened training camp, and there was one familiar face who was happy to see him.
Bieksa's longtime friend, center Ryan Kesler, is beginning his second season with the Ducks after being acquired from the Canucks last summer.
"We grew up together in this league," Kesler said. "To be a year apart was weird. For him to get traded here was awesome. We're both excited and happy to be on the same team again.
"He just brings that leadership, accountability and meanness. He's going to be good for this group."
Bieksa is happy to be with the Ducks after spending his entire career with Vancouver.
"I think it's good. I'm actually looking forward to it," he said. "I was in the same organization for 12 years, and training camps are relatively the same every year. To be in a new spot, different drills, a new coaching staff, new teammates. It's a fresh start and I'm looking forward to it.
"You battle for so long, usually there are teams that are going to want you on their side eventually. These guys were at the top of my list when I was looking for a new team. We always knew it was going to be a tough, physical team. It's fun to be on this side now."