New Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters was feeling cooped up in the office this summer and couldn’t wait to get on ice at the Stampede Corral Friday morning to run his first practice at Calgary Flames rookie camp. The more than two dozen prospects that hit the ice got a first-hand look at the animated and intense coach they were trying to impress.
“They’re going to play the same way we are,” Peters said. “Whether you end up here or in Stockton or back in junior, you want to take away the way we’re going to play and the way you’ve got to practice.”
Players like forward Dillon Dube, who was raised in Cochrane, are looking to make the jump to the NHL this season and were glad Peters was on the ice to run practice.
“Obviously he’s pretty intense,” Dube said. “It keeps you sharp; it makes you better. You’re dialed in the whole time and want to be sharp the whole time because if not, you might get yelled at a little bit.”
Calgary-raised forward Matthew Phillips wants to make the jump from junior hockey to make a paycheque this season at the pro level.
“My goal all summer is to play pro hockey and that’s what I’m going to try and do,” Phillips said. “I’m going to work my hardest and try and stick around here as long as I can.”
Last year’s first-round draft pick Juuso Valimaki has a legitimate chance to earn a spot on the Flames defence by the end of training camp. Peters’ high-energy practice got his attention.
“Intense guy but he always wants the best out of his players and seems like a really good coach,” Valimaki said. “I want to steal a spot–simple as that.”
Forwards Spencer Foo and Andrew Mangiapane were the only players on the ice with NHL experience with the Flames. Mangiapane has recovered from off-season shoulder surgery and is motivated to crack the Flames squad this season.
“I’m pretty motivated,” Mangiapane said. “I’m trying to earn a spot. I think that I’ve proven myself in the AHL and now I need to prove myself in the NHL.”
Foo says he can’t wait to play Sunday’s game at the Saddledome against the Edmonton Oilers’ prospects.
“It’s going to be a blast,” Foo said. “First game of the season is always exciting–whether it’s exhibition or not. I think everyone’s pretty pumped up.”
The Flames and Oilers prospects battle at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Saddledome. The Calgary Flames’ first pre-season game is Saturday, Sept. 15 in China against the Boston Bruins.