Kitchener Rangers hit the ice for training camp ahead of new season

The Kitchener Rangers are getting back to business.

Players hit the ice for main training camp Labour Day Weekend as the 2021-2022 OHL season quickly approaches.

After the season was cancelled last year due the pandemic, the Rangers are now getting ready for pre-season action next week on Sept. 10.

Friday saw the team’s first scrimmage in almost two years on the ice of the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.

“It’s been surreal being able to be back at the rink and seeing all the guys and all the previous guys that I played with when I was in my first year,” said player Jesse Fishman. “Then seeing the new guys that have signed stepping into the program, it’s been unreal.”

Camp is closed to the public, but fans can follow along on social media or online and see how the team has to adjust to new rules.

“Obviously we’ve been taking all of the COVID-19 protocols that there is to be taken,” said Fishman. “That’s something we’re really lucky to be doing during a time like this.”

The OHL is requiring all players, coaches, trainers, team and league staff, officials, volunteers, and billet families to be vaccinated at least 14 days prior to the start of the season.

A representative for the Rangers says everyone who is a part of the team met this requirement except for one player. He was not allowed to attend the start of training camp, but will be able to rejoin once he does.

On Sunday, the Rangers announced they were cutting 17 players off of their training camp rosters as they get ready for pre-season games against Barrie, Niagara, and Mississauga.

“I’m thrilled for the boys that they’re able to come in and play, but so thrilled to watch,” said Kathrine Mercer, a parent of a prospect. “It’s actually been really exciting, takes you back a few years when you were actually able to do this.”

Capacity for the upcoming warm-up games will be capped at 1,000, with everyone in attendance required to show proof they are fully vaccinated.