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Texas Kicks off training Camp

Sitting up in the stands with many of the press taking in the first official day of on ice Training camp, the Texas Renegades seemed to be alive and flying around the ice. Skating drills and passing plays, Puck handling and defence. The coaching staff ran the team through a quick breakdown of some of the stuff they will be working on through out training camp. Short amounts of time were spent on each drill so players could get the feel of what was ahead.

New to training camp in Texas were newly drafted prospects Haley Knight and Josef Kubinec( returning prospect), both from the Halifax Raiders, Patrick Niederreiter from S47 SMJHL champion Anahiem Outlaws and Padraig Sarantez from S47 finalists, the Montreal Militia. Watching them from my seat as they were taking in all that was going on around them and them partaking in the drills. None of them are really expected to make the team as Texas has already said they want them to continue their development with their respective junior teams. The overall feeling is that these young players will eventually become cornerstones to the future of the Renegades.

Once the Renegades finished their run through of the drills, they broke into a scrimmage to get them back into the feeling of playing a game. The prospects were front and centre in this as management wanted them to get a taste of the difference in the J and the Big club. “ It’s something that we want them to notice. Once they get the feel of the difference they know what to expect, and it gets them a little more ready when the time comes for call ups.” Said new co GM Dean Atkins.

Opposite Walter Hobbs was newly drafted goalie and SMJHL S47 Champion Patrick Niederreiter. As the scrimmage went on you could see him getting comfortable in the overall Game. While a few early shots made their way through, it’s never easy stopping a Louie Garrett or a Essellemm as they find an open space in the slot. Hobbs for his part made it look routine. Of course after 6 seasons with the big club it is bound to be routine. Stopping a point shot from Haley Knight that had some zip on it seemed normal. Even Padraig Sarantez had a wicked slap shot gloved safely away. However it was plays like Knights pass to Sarantez who passed to Konn who whipped a snap shot top shelf that looked impressive. Both young D seemed to find comfort as the scrimmage progressed.

At the top of the red seats in the stands ( you know, the ones that cost some $$$ if your going to sit there during a season game) you could see GM Dankoa on his laptop taking notes of everything. Who scored, assists, who was moving the puck well, who needed to work on skating etc.. Gms are always looking to fill the needs of their teams and this GM lookes to be ready to find what his team needs to be a championship contender.

The press conference that followed had Co gm Dean Atkins, GM Dankoa and Daniel Karlsson, team Centre and Captain. As they sat there to answer questions, some stood out more than the rest.

When asked about how long the Prospects would remain with the team GM Dankoa answered “ a day or two more, they have their SMJHL teams to report to and we know a lot of them have important roles to fill. Kubinec and Knight are heading back to Halifax as they will both be a big part of the team this season. Kbinec will be in a top 6 role more than likely and knight should be in top 4 D pairing. Both will have to be ready to play a huge role for the team. Patrick Niederreiter will head back to Anaheim and take his #1 role this season and try and lead the Outlaws to a second 4-star cup. Being a main Goalie is a huge responsibility and we know he’s up for the challenge yet again. Padraig Sarantez will be going back to Montreal and take on a top 4 role and try to get his team back to the 4-star cup finals. he was great last season and we fully expect him to continue his development. “

When asked about training camp and the beginning of the pre-season co GM Atkins responded “ we have 2 games against the Texas All-stars. Basically the best of our university hockey players. We do this every season. It helps raise money for schools and we love helping out our state that gives us so much already. Those games will be played right before pre-season. Then it’s business as usual as we get ready for the season.”

Questioned about free agent signing Sanyi Kocsis GM Dankoa said “ He’s a steal. We got a young up and comer who already has a season of SHL experience under his belt. He is already an important part of our D core and will easily be part of our cornerstone group into the future. We are beyond Happy with the fact that he chose Texas and we are excited about both his and our future with him.”

With pre-season coming up soon and Training camp raving into high gear, this season may be a great one for Texas. Their semi final lose last season still stings and you can bet they will be pushing to take the next step. Beyond the SHL, the Renegade prospects are going to be a bright spot as all eyes will be on them as we watch them develop this season into what may very well become a bright future. Will Haley Knight and Joseph Kubinec help lead Halifax deep into a playoff run? Will Patrick Niederreiter lead Anaheim to its second 4 star cup or will Padraig Sarantez finish the job by winning the 4 star cup after coming so close last season. The future for Texas may be brighter than we first expected.

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