The Xcel Energy Center finally had some pucks smacking against the boards and some steel carving the ice. And while the skaters on the ice weren’t Minnesota Wild players, they were wearing the red and green of the Houston Aeros. The Wild’s American Hockey League affiliate officially kicked off the 2012-2013 season with the first day of camp.
The group of 37 players was split into two teams, with one team skating in the morning followed by a workout. The second group worked out first, and then went through a practice led by Houston head coach, John Torchetti.
All of the players will be on display to the public tomorrow and Sunday for the open scrimmages. Saturday’s action starts at 11:00 a.m. and Sunday will kick of at 10:00 a.m. Doors open half an hour before puck drop both days.
Fans are encouraged to bring their used hockey equipment for the Let’s Play Hockey Used Hockey Equipment Drive that culminates next weekend. There will be a drop off location atop the Xcel Energy Center Box Office and anyone that donates will receive a raffle ticket for prizes that include autographed pucks, or a signed Marco Scandella jersey.
Certainly there will be a lot of eyes on the what looks to be the possible top line in Houston this year: Mikael Granlund centering Jason Zucker and Sir Charles Coyle. It certainly looks to be a good blend of playmaking, size, speed and finishing.
That trio has never played together in game action before, but they are plenty familiar with each other. Zucker skated on a line with Granlund during July’s Development Camp, and he was on a line with Coyle as a member of Team USA at the World Juniors.
“They’re really not bad guys to play with,” joked Zucker. “There’s good chemistry there, but it’s young chemistry and it’s something we’ll have to develop these next few days and next few weeks to make ourselves a better line.”
Expect that trio to be going up against Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella, who look to be the top defensive pairing on the opposite squad tomorrow.
It should be a fun couple of days at Xcel Energy Center, and the price is right. So stop down for a chance to see the Wild’s top prospects in action.