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Winnipeg Jets open training camp with vigorous on-ice testing

Players are put through a speed test on the opening day of Winnipeg Jets training camp. Mitch Rosset / Global News

WINNIPEG – As much of a thrill the start of Winnipeg Jets training camp is for fans, the first day was anything but pleasant for players.

“That was not fun,” said forward Shawn Matthias following several strenuous on-ice tests at MTS Iceplex. “It was hard. They really kick your butt. Definitely a tough test for day one.”

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This year’s camp is expected to be one of the most competitive since the Jets landed back in Winnipeg. A total of 60 players have been invited to try out with only a handful of roster spots up for grabs.

“I definitely don’t feel like my job is safe,” said forward Andrew Copp. “It’s hard to get here but it’s even harder to stay.”

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Oakbank, Manitoba's Quinton Howden skates with the Winnipeg Jets for the first time since being signed by the team this summer. Mitch Rosset / Global News
The first group of players take a break during the opening day of Winnipeg Jets training camp. Mitch Rosset / Global News
Forward Shawn Matthias skates with the Winnipeg Jets for the first time since being signed by the team this summer. Mitch Rosset / Global News

A few players were absent as they slowly make their way back from the World Cup of Hockey. Among them is defenceman Jacob Trouba. The restricted free agent has yet to sign on a new contract with the Jets and is expected to sit out training camp until both sides agree on a deal.

“Whenever a situation like this comes up, you’re eager for it to be settled,” said defenceman Tyler Myers. “You also understand they are doing what they have to do. The faster we can get him in the room, the better it is for everyone.”

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The Jets play their first pre-season game on Tuesday at MTS Centre against the Calgary Flames.

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