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Jets Camp: Voice aside, Noel relishes coaching opportunity

by Patrick Williams
WINNIPEG -- Certainly Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel had some obstacles to overcome on his first day guiding his club.

Noel has a new roster to learn, the distractions inherent in playing in a Canadian market, and a fan base that has 15 years of pent-up NHL energy to release.

After three on-ice sessions, Noel had a new obstacle -- his hoarse voice. The chatty Noel can fill a notebook, and the loud crowd on hand forced Noel to raise his voice to be heard.

"I thought (the players') work ethic, their attention to detail, their attitudes all looked real good," Noel said. "I know it's the first day and there hasn't been any adversity, but I thought it was a tremendous first day for us."

Since taking the Winnipeg job June 23, Noel has spent his summer watching his players on video, but there is no replacement for seeing his players in person.

"There's a big difference between watching tape of players and then being on ice (with them)," Noel said. "I really thought that you could notice the NHL players...and how good the young players are in today's game."

The first day of training camp always means fresh legs and a shortage of the bumps and bruises that will show up as the season progresses, but the atmosphere in the building further increased the energy level.

"I think you feed off the enthusiasm of the crowd," Noel said. "They're applauding every save, every good play. It was really noticeable how much they appreciate a good play, whether it is a good save (or some other play).

"It was pretty impressive. They were appreciative of the whole thing."

NOTES: David Koci, who is attending training camp on an invitation, sat out the first day of on-ice work with an undisclosed injury. Offseason addition Kyle Wellwood was not expected to participate in contact drills because of an injury, but managed to do so.
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