Ice main camp continues Saturday with special teams scrimmages/games from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. and more games from 3-9 p.m. at the Pepsi Coliseum.
The All-Star Game will be at 10 a.m. Sunday, with a 30-man roster to be posted shortly thereafter.
Notable in today's action were the appearance of several returning players -- Alex Barron, Adam Erne, Ryan Obuchowski, Jarrod Rabey, Cody Bradley, Ian Spencer, Sean Kuraly, Alexander Kuqali, Christian Hilbrich and Dan Cesarz. In addition, goaltender Jon Gillies and Dalton Izyk -- who dressed several games for the Ice when Gillies was unavailable for a handful of games last season -- were in uniform. Among other familiar faces/veterans, Jacob Fallon was back in camp after spending a season at the University of Michigan, and we also got our first look at R.J. Boyd, a defenseman who was acquired from the Chicago Steel in a trade. Boyd was the one NHL draft pick in camp, having been selected by the Florida Panthers in the seventh round last year.
Among the Ice's draftees, nearly all were in attendance. The most notable absence was that of Futures Draft selection Max Domi. His story has been highly-publicized in Canada, in part because of his famous father Tie Domi. His absence would appear to mean he is leaning toward playing in the Ontario Hockey League next season, where media reports have his rights likely being traded to the London Knights team run by Doug Gilmour -- one of Tie Domi's former Maple Leafs teammates.
However, most of the other picks were there, including another highly-touted Canadian, Jeremy Gregoire of Sherbrooke, Quebec. He was also selected sixth in the QMJHL draft by Chicoutimi, and told a Canadian newspaper that he would wait until the end of the summer to make his decision as to which league to play in. Gregoire showed flashes of quickness, strength on the puck and relentlessness.
Also impressive among newcomers was #1 Entry Draft selection Tyler Pham of Fort Collins, Colorado, a solid playmaker who was often seen leading the breakouts for his teams. The other first-round entry draft pick, Danny Sherer of Netosha, Wis., was also in attendance and teamed with Pham and Cesarz to be one of the more effective line combos of the day.
Very impressive was the line of Sean Kuraly-Robbie Baillaregeon and Eric Arnold. Kuraly, committed to Miami University and a likely high NHL draft pick later this month, scored or directly set up four goals in his team's first game today. The three combined had more than a point a game last year, all playing at pretty high levels. Another late-draft selection who showed a lot of offensive skill was Minnesotan Jack McFarlane -- a strong winger with good finishing skill. He had two goals in his team's second game today. Five-foot-5 forward Robert Polesello took a lot of ice time and was very strong on the puck. Future Boston Unjiversity teammate Michael Moran showed a pretty hard shot.
Today featured a lot of hockey, and to try to justify all of it and describe every player would be next-to-impossible. More than 150 players suited up today, and several stood out.
College commits at the draft among players who aren't returning Ice players: Baillaregeon, Polesello and Moran (Boston University), Adam Gilmour (Quinnipiac), Pham (Denver), Charles Orzetti (Yale), Joseph Fiala (Western Michigan) and Adam Johnson (Minnesota-Duluth).
It goes without saying that new coach/GM Kyle Wallack and his staff will have some difficult decisions to make and should have a talented squad back in the fall. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next two days.
Also, while you're at the Coliseum, head across the street to the Edy's Grand Hall for an Ice Garage Sale.