The Kamloops Blazers will take their first strides into the 2019-20 WHL season this week, as they host their annual training camp at the Sandman Centre.
Camp officially begins today (Aug. 21), with player registration. However, the part fans care about most, the on-ice sessions, begin tomorrow (Aug. 22) and run until Sunday.
A total of 87 players are reporting to Kamloops this week, including all nine members of this spring's bantam draft class.
The Blazers will also be bringing in a fourth overage player, Alec Zawatsky, from the Moose Jaw Warriors. Zane Franklin, Kobe Mohr and Jackson Caller are the three other overage players on the roster.
This week's camp will also be the first chance for many players to meet new head coach Shaun Clouston, who was hired by the team in June to replace Serge Lajoie.
While the main goal of camp will be preparing the team to make the leap to contender status this year, there will also be some fun events for fans.
For the second year in a row, the team will divide players into four teams to vie for the recently developed training camp prize, the Blazers Cup. In honour of the 25th anniversary of the 1994-95 Memorial Cup champion team, players were sorted on to four squads named after members of that iconic team: Nolan Baumgartner, Hnat Domenichelli, Jason Holland and Ryan Huska.
The rosters for Team Baumgartner, Team Domenichelli, Team Holland and Team Huska are listed in the gallery above.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the team will run practices from 8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and scrimmages from 4 to 7:45 p.m.
Training camp concludes Sunday (Aug. 25) with the third and fourth place teams playing at 8:30 a.m., followed by the first- and second-place teams vying for the Blazers Cup at 10:30 a.m.
All ice sessions will be held at the Sandman Centre and are free for the public to attend.
Kamloops will start their preseason schedule next weekend (Aug. 31 and Sept. 1) with a pair of home games against the Victoria Royals and Kelowna Rockets.