MOLINE, IL – Training camp has started for the Quad City Mallards, and few things sound better than skates cutting through a fresh sheet of ice. Eleven days separate now from the home opener, and there’s a lot to do in those 11 days. As of now, the roster consists of 29 players – 15 forwards, nine defensemen, two who play both forward and defense, and three goalies. Over the next week and a half, head coach Phil Axtell will have to cut seven players, and an additional one in November. No one has been assigned from the Chicago Wolves as of yet, meaning that the numbers could go up before they go down. The first day of camp is always an exciting day, and also an easier day than the rest of camp.
According to defenseman Kevin Patterson, “Today was a good day of just getting to know the guys and touching the puck and getting back into the swing of things. I know a couple guys, including myself, drove a long way and traveled, so just to get out there and get the legs loose was good today and I’m sure it’ll be a good battle throughout training camp leading up to opening night.”
Even for the first day, though, the players certainly were showing Axtell their best effort. With so many possibilities and only so many spots available, every day counts to prove they’re fit for the team.
“We’ve had a really good start to camp and I think guys are competing, effort level’s high, I think it’s okay. Once we start getting the systems and stuff, I think it’s important to come out of the gates playing the right way, you know, doing the little things right, winning the puck battles, and I think that we will,” forward/defenseman Mike Leone said.
There were some additions to the camp roster, as Ivan Hodulov, Stathis Soumelidis, and Kristaps Bazevics were signed to try-out agreements while Garret Klotz was acquired from the Norfolk Admirals in exchange for Andrew Panzarella.
“I think it’s going to be a good camp, we have two weeks before it starts so just get everybody together, get everybody on the same page, get some chemistry going with some of the lines and just have a good time doing it,” prospective goaltender Kent Patterson added.