Rookie camp stint valuable
It was a Wild experience that Giorgio Estephan can now take back to Lethbridge. As the Lethbridge Hurricanes ran through practice Thursday afternoon at the Enmax Centre, the 20-year-old centre was back with this teammates, fresh off his appearance at the Minnesota Wild’s rookie camp.
Fellow Canes teammate and defenceman Brennan Menell is still in Minnesota and off to the team’s main camp beginning this weekend, but the rookie camp was nonethless a valuable experience for Estephan.
“It’s fun playing in the rookie tournaments like Traverse City,” said Estephan, whose team heads to the Crowsnest Pass tonight to take on the Kootenay Ice in their final exhibition game before their season opener next Friday. “There are a lot of teams and prospects that are competitive. It’s definitely a competitive space to be in and it’s exciting. I think I showed myself the best that I could and I think there was a lot to take out of it.”
Now, last year’s second-leading scorer with 35 goals and 89 points in 68 games takes some of those lessons back to southern Alberta to help the Canes build on their 41-win season that propelled them to the Eastern Conference final last spring.
“We’ve been getting better every year,” said Estephan. “So we have high hopes for this year. We have a good group in here and we’re going to make a run at the championship, that’s everything we want to do.”
They’ll attempt that with a good chunk of last year’s roster as well.
“Definitely any time you get can get a lot of players back after the season we had last year, it’s something special to keep building on, the years those guys had and progressing from the year before,” said Estephan. “A couple of the new guys, like (Dylan) Cozens, is going to be really good for us. (Calen) Addison played in his first year last year and it going to be really good for us this year. A lot of the new guys coming in will have a feeling-out period, but I think they’ll adapt quickly.”
Game time tonight is 7 p.m.