The 2019 Western Conference champion Chicago Wolves opened training camp Monday with 31 players participating in practice and a scrimmage at Triphahn Ice Arena in Hoffman Estates.
Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson and assistants Chris Dennis and Bob Nardella split the 18 forwards, nine defensemen and four goaltenders into two squads that went through separate practices (click for the training camp roster here). This wasn’t the coaches’ first workout with many of the players.
“We’ve been in Las Vegas,” Thompson said. “We were running (the team) for the rookie tournament in Anaheim. Then we helped (Golden Knights coach) Gerard Gallant and his staff for the first four or five days of the main camp. We were able to see our players there having good, strong camps.
Between Monday’s practices, Dennis’ Team Black and Nardella’s Team White engaged in a 35-minute scrimmage. Forwards Gage Quinney, Lucas Elvenes, Brett McKenzie and Anthony Petruzzelli and defenseman Cliff Watson scored goals during the crisp session. Thompson liked the chance to get to work shaping this year’s squad.
“We’ve got a lot of young players on our team,” Thompson said. “So, for me personally, there are a lot of fundamental things we can start addressing right now to help develop the players. But the most important thing is coming together and building a team. We want to come together as a group. That’s why we’re all involved in this — the team is what’s most important. We’re getting to know each other and starting to grow.”
The Wolves will conduct similar practice sessions Tuesday and Wednesday before altering practice plans slightly to account for the exhibition games Thursday and Friday night in Milwaukee. The Wolves face the Milwaukee Admirals at 7 p.m. Thursday and the Tucson Roadrunners at 7 p.m. Friday at Panther Arena. Tickets are available for Thursday’s game, but Friday’s game is not open to the public.
The Wolves open the 2019-20 regular season at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, against the Grand Rapids Griffins at Allstate Arena. The first 5,000 fans receive a 2019 Western Conference championship banner courtesy of Jewel-Osco.