It may not be the main camp opening (that’s next week), but there is hockey in the air as the Sharks rookie camp opened up at Sharks Ice at San Jose on Friday. About 30 players took part in the early action which was run by Worcester Sharks Head Coach Roy Sommer.
Now is the time where drafted and undrafted players can start making impressions. Jason Demers
attended a few years ago as an undrafted product and it was a strong impression made during rookie games that helped lead to him being drafted by San Jose.
The players this year are just excited to get back on the ice in a team setting.
“It felt good to get back on the ice,” said Brandon Mashinter
With no native Californians on the roster, there was some long travel Thursday for some.
“I flew in yesterday and got the jet legs out,” said Mashinter. “We flew in from Toronto right to San Francisco. It was nice, it wasn’t a connecting flight.”
“We landed about two and got here about four,” said Phil Varone. “We had to come to the rink and drop our stuff off. Then it was off to the hotel.”
Almost like college freshmen hitting the dorms for the first time, there were introductions necessary to new roommates, when everyone was awake that is.
“I got (Konrad) Abeltshauser, but I was asleep by the time he got in so I didn’t meet him until this morning,” said Mashinter.
Most of the players had recently begun acclimating themselves to the ice, but when the games begin on Sunday (they will be carried live on sjsharks.com beginning Sunday at 7:30 PT), the level of play will jump up.
“I’ve been getting on the ice, I took most of the summer off,” said Mashinter. “The last two weeks I’ve been skating. (Derek) Joslin’s uncle ran our practices and it was a pretty good skate with a lot of AHL guys and AHL goalies. It got us into shape.”
For the players who have been through the drill before, it made Day 1 much easier.
“It’s my second time around with everything and it’s very comfortable,” said Varone. “This year I know my way around, so I’m a bit more comfortable.”
The players are not the only ones excited to be back on the ice. The coaches enjoy the youthful enthusiasm around them.
“It’s good,” said Sommer. “I think we’re as rusty as they are at times, but I thought for the most part they got what we were trying to get across. We worked on entries and breakouts and they seemed to pick it up.”