'Skill level looks great': Lethbridge Hurricanes back on the ice for training camp

After finishing last season three games below 500 and missing out on one of the highly sought-after top three divisional spots in the 2020-21 season, the 'Canes are eager to show what their made of with this year's veteran roster.

Lethbridge hockey fans are one step closer to being able to cheer on their hometown Hurricanes and the ENMAX Centre, as well as the team couldn't be more excited.

To say last year was challenging and bizarre for the league would be an understatement, but this year is shaping up to be a triumphant return for teams patiently waiting to welcome back fans.

"I think the whole team's excited to get fans back in, I know the fans are excited," said veteran forward Justin Hall.

"It's going to be crazy that first game with fans. There's going to be some jitters, there's going to be nerves, but I think we're all excited and can't wait for that."

Hall led the 'Canes in scoring last season with 12 goals and 27 points in the shortened 24-game season.

He's among a group of veterans with high expectations to get back into the win column and push for a league title.

"Everyone is improving in their own way. Some guys are getting faster, some guys are getting harder shots and you just know that as they get older, their more confident," said fourth-year center Logan Barlage.

"We're an older team this year so, I think that's going to help us in winning games and looking for a championship."

This week's training camp is particularly important for the team's younger guys who are vying for a roster spot despite not having played a competitive game in well over a year.

For team scouts, it's also helping to decide where the club Is at when it comes to player development.

"We haven't seen a lot of them play so, it's really good to get out here and see these guys," said the team's head scout Rob MacLachlan.

"The skill level looks great. I don't think that overall the year of skill development and skating really hurt anybody. Most of these kids have still been on the ice with their personal trainers."

Still for players passionate about the game, not stepping on the ice to take on an actual opponent made for a frustrating 2020-21 season, and it makes this training camp that much more important.

"It was tough for sure to not play any games for 18 months. It's just been practices over and over, working on my game, working on everything, trying to get bigger, faster and everything," said the Hurricanes’ third-round pick from the 2020 draft Logan Wormald.

"I'm looking to make the team this year, I think I have a good shot. I have to prove it to them."

The Hurricanes training camp will wrap up on Sunday at noon with an intra-squad game.

That game will be open to the public at the ENMAX Centre for fans who are looking to catch a glimpse of this year's lineup before the WHL season kicks off for the team at home on Oct. 1 against the Calgary Hitmen.