As the Chicago Wolves gear up for their 20th season, general manager Wendell Young is focused – on prospects, training camp and the start of another new era.
You’re in Traverse City, Mich., now for prospects camp and then you’re headed to St. Louis for its training camp. Where do you feel like the Wolves are right now in terms of being ready for the season?
We’re on track. We’re where we need to be. The depth chart is pretty much in place, we have our wish list together and, hopefully after training camp in St. Louis, the players we’d like to see fall to us do.
What is your main focus over the next three weeks prior to the team’s first game against San Antonio?
Evaluating as much as I can. We have most of our players but I want to keep up on what else is out there. Being in Traverse City now I’m seeing a lot of what the prospects and invites can do. I have an idea of which players are probably going to be coming to our team and I’m evaluating them and where they sit at the American Hockey League level. From here it’s on to St. Louis’ main camp and there are more players there. Those guys are all vying for a spot on the Blues roster, but there are certain guys destined for the Chicago Wolves. Then our training camp happens, and we’ll be looking at the best combination of lines, which D partners might be best and what the team is ultimately going to look like. Those are the priorities.
Are any of the players signed to Wolves contracts in town now? Have they been getting work in?
Some players are here but there have been no formal practices. Certain guys are skating, others are just working out. Our guys don’t have to report until September 21 for official training camp and there will be no organized skates until then; it’s just preparation for that right now.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you this offseason?
Everything is new. We’re partnered with a new team; we don’t have a lot of the same players as previous years. Even some of our guys we’re used to having around have gone on to other teams in Europe. It’s been a challenge putting the pieces together and getting players signed, while keeping in mind we want to be getting the right combination of guys.
Do you feel ready for the return of hockey?
We’ll be ready. I think our coaches and management are a great fit this season. We’ve all got the same philosophy, and the same goal for the Chicago Wolves, and that’s to see this team win. From my standpoint that’s been great, with all of us working well together. Now we have to find out what these players can bring to the table, find out what their strengths and weaknesses are as players. We’ve seen it a little bit from their past years and we want to improve what they’re weak at and accentuate what they’re good at going forward.