The Saskatoon Blades have three veterans back as they prepare for their final two pre-season games against the Winnipeg Ice.
Defencemen Scott Walford and Nolan Kneen, and forward Riley McKay were all at practise on Thursday after attending NHL rookie camps.
While they said there’s some disappointment at not making the cut for their respective main camps, they had positive things to say about their experience and what it can do for them at the junior level.
“(It’s) not something that you can experience every year, so it was nice to go there and learn lots from the coaches and other players and see how hard they work there and bring that over to Saskatoon,” said McKay, who was at the Chicago Blackhawks rookie camp.
Walford, who is a Winnipeg Jets prospect, said speed and culture are what he is bringing back to the team.
“The speed that they played at, the culture that they’ve instilled in their players and prospects and coaches and staff is, I think, second to none and that’s a big thing that I want to bring here,” he said.
“I know there’s a good culture here but just like with any team, any culture, you can always push the envelope and make everyone better.”
Three Blades remain at NHL camps.
Forward Kirby Dach, the third-overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, is with the Chicago Blackhawks, Eric Florchuk with the Washington Capitals, and Chase Wouters with the Anaheim Ducks.
The Blades kick off the 2019-20 WHL season Sept. 20 on the road against the Prince Albert Raiders. The two teams meet again the following night in Saskatoon’s home opener.