Hockey Islanders get training camp underway

Charles
Charles Reid
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Team White goalie Logan Cooke of Glace Bay, N.S., moves to glove the puck during a scramble in front of the net during the Charlottetown Islanders’ inter-squad game Tuesday night in Pownal. Also in on the action is Team Black’s Kameron Kielly (No. 10) of Charlottetown.

It’s old and new, and new, for two members of the Charlottetown Islanders as the Quebec Major Junior Hockey Club began training camp Tuesday in Pownal.

For 20-year-old Suffolk native Ross Johnston, it’s old (he’s at his fourth training camp since being drafted into the league by the Moncton Wildcats in 2011) and it’s new because he’'s with a different team this season after the Isles acquired the six-foot-five, 225-pound forward from the Victoriaville Tigres at the QMJHL draft.

Johnston is also expected to lead the younger players. That’s new, too, and something he’s ready for.

“I think it’s very fair, got to be a leader. You train five to six days a week, got to show the younger players how to work hard and take pride, and relish your role as leader,” Johnston said after practice Tuesday. “The pace (for camp) will be high, get those summer legs out. That’s where the summer exercise shows up.”

Week 1 of the club’s training sessions will feature daily practices, three inter-squad games and two exhibition games.

The first inter-squad game was Tuesday. The second goes today at 6 p.m.

Practices begin at 9 a.m. each day and are open to the public. Inter-squad games go at 6 p.m.

Isles training camp roster includes 30 forwards, 12 defencemen and five goalies vying for spots on the 2014-15 squad.

One of those hopefuls is Andrew Smith.

And it’s all new for the defenceman.

The mammoth 16-year-old, who stands at six-footsix and 184 pounds, saw his first action at the major junior level Tuesday.  

“It was fun, very fun. The pace was good, fun to get back on the ice,” said Smith, a Montreal native and a second-round pick in the Q draft in June. “I’m looking at the older guys to see what they’re doing and learn from them (especially) the way they prepare themselves for practice.”

Charlottetown plays its first league pre-season game against the Moncton Wildcats Friday in Moncton.

It then hosts the Acadie-Bathurst Titan Saturday in Pownal at 3 p.m.

Smith hopes to be in those games to show his stuff, and plans not to hold back in his new home and aznew opponents.

“I think I’m a good defensive player, a shutdown (guy). I can play physical and a be good teammate. At the midget level the guys are smaller. Here, the guys are larger and stronger.”"

Charlottetown opens the regular season versus the Saint John Sea Dogs on Friday, Sept. 12.

Game time is 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.

Street hockey jamboree

The Isles have begun registration for its free street hockey jamboree on Saturday, Aug. 30, from 8 a.m. to noon, in downtown Charlottetown. The event is open to boys and girls 11 years old and under.

Registration closes Friday, Aug. 22, at 4 p.m. Register at 902-894-7349 or admin@charlottetownislanders.com.

Organizations: Quebec Major Junior Hockey Club

Geographic location: Pownal, Suffolk, Charlottetown Montreal

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