[gallery](Photos by Ellie Bogue)
Training camp for the Fort Wayne Komets doesn't officially open until Oct. 6, but some of the players started trying to skate the rust off Wednesday morning at McMillen Park Ice Arena. Colin Chaulk, Guy Dupuis, Konstantin Shafranov, David Hukalo, P.C. Drouin and Brandon Warner were joined by some friends with the unofficial start of their preparations.
"It wasn't too bad, really,” Drouin said. “I guess my workouts and paying off. Nothing can get you ready for this. I'm glad we have another week and a half before camp starts because we need every single day.”
Several players said there's no way to prepare for camp like skating, and this was the first chance many have had to take the ice since the Komets won the Turner Cup championship on May 13.
Asked how long it took them to get warmed up, Komets captain Dupius joked, “I don't think we did yet. It was a lot of fun, though.”
As much as skating, the players spent time catching up and joking. The workout was mainly about getting their legs going and starting the process of regaining their touch with a stick.
"I feel terrible out there,” Chaulk said. “It would be nice to have a few more guys out here so we could play. I'd like to go three or four weeks before camp, but you have to do what you can to prepare. You should know what it takes by now to get ready.”
Most of the 90-minute workout, the Komets played four-on-four with equipment manager Mark Bradtmeuller serving as goaltender. When the ice got too chippy, they switched ends.
Two local players, Eddie Wright and Ryan Potts, are using the workouts as unofficial tryouts. Potts, the grandson of Komets legend Reggie Primeau, is a 6-foot-2, 184-pound left wing.
"I have to show them what I can do here,” Potts said. “If it's eight days, it's eight days and I'll take it. My goal is to continually get better. Even if I go to camp and don't make it, maybe I can show them I'm good enough to fill in if they get injuries or call-ups to come out and play a little bit.”
He didn't look out of place and showed a steady skating stride. Warner, a Fort Wayne native, grew up playing with and against Potts.
"I told him he has to give it everything he's got,” the defenseman said. “I've talked to him over the past three, four months now and just told him to keep working. Whether they give you a shot, you can't control that, the only thing you can control is making sure you are ready if they do. He's been training hard and we'll see.”