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Calgary Flames open training camp after 4-month layoff

Calgary Flames open training camp after COVID-19 shutdown
WATCH: The Calgary Flames are back on the ice as training camp gets underway at the Saddledome. As Moses Woldu reports, it’s an unusual summer return for the players.

After four months to the day the NHL announced its pause on the 2019-20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Calgary Flames returned to the ice for training camp Monday.

Read more: NHL, players’ association announce Toronto and Edmonton as hub cities amid coronavirus

The return to full-team practices is part of Phase 3 of the NHL’s return-to-play protocol.

“Being able to do drills, full ice and work on our power play and penalty kill, that felt [really] normal,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano.
Calgary Flames’ Mark Giordano, left, and Matthew Tkachuk skate during practice in Calgary, Monday, July 13, 2020.
Calgary Flames’ Mark Giordano, left, and Matthew Tkachuk skate during practice in Calgary, Monday, July 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

While the on-ice part comes naturally for the players, going to and from the rink is anything but.
Players continue to go through temperature checks and must wear a mask unless they’re on the ice.

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“In the locker room, we’re very, very strict,” said Matthew Tkachuk.

“Try to social distance as much as we can, spread out in a few different locker rooms and try to be smart as much as we can right now because when we get to Edmonton, we’re all healthy and ready to go.”

Calgary Flames’ players take to the ice during practice in Calgary, Monday, July 13, 2020.
Calgary Flames’ players take to the ice during practice in Calgary, Monday, July 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Thirty-five players are vying for 31 roster spots, making up the team that will travel to Edmonton for the start of the play-in round on Aug. 1.

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Interim coach Geoff Ward was pleased with the tempo during the first practice.

“After a long layoff, it was a good day for us,” he said.

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Calgary Flames goalie Cam Talbot deflects a shot from Mark Jankowski during practice in Calgary, Monday, July 13, 2020.
Calgary Flames goalie Cam Talbot deflects a shot from Mark Jankowski during practice in Calgary, Monday, July 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Twenty-four players were on the ice for the morning practice while nine took part in the afternoon.

Read more: Calgary Flames’ Hamonic becomes 1st NHL player to opt out of league’s plan to play during pandemic

Forwards Dillon Dube and Buddy Robinson did not participate in practices on Monday.

Training camp wraps up July 24.