Abbotsford Training Camp Primer
Abby fans, it’s finally time… Abbotsford Canucks hockey has arrived!
The Abbotsford Canucks will officially open their training camp on Wednesday, October 6th at Abbotsford Centre. The franchise is set to embark on their inaugural season in the American Hockey League on October 16th in Bakersfield against the Condors. But before Johnny Canuck gets his chance to cage some fowl, there is work to be done here in Abby.
Our squad will be headed by a couple of familiar faces to Canucks fans. Ryan Johnson will serve as the Canucks’ General Manager, overseeing the construction of the Abby roster. Trent Cull will be the first head coach in Abbotsford Canucks’ history. 2021.22 will be the fifth season of the Johnson and Cull partnership, as both held the same positions with the Canucks’ previous AHL affiliate in Utica, NY since 2017.
“I’m excited to get to Abbotsford and to get on the ice,” said Cull. “I worked hard this offseason to develop a blueprint for how I want our team to play. We want to make sure that we are getting our conditioning and we want to use training camp to get familiar with each other. Training camp is a great opportunity to get some of the details out of the way so that we can focus on playing hockey when the season arrives.”
Joining Coach Cull in Abbotsford is his staff of assistants, many of whom have worked multiple seasons with Trent with the Utica Comets. Gary Agnew will once again be behind the bench assisting Trent, while Curtis Sanford will continue mentoring the Canucks’ promising batch of netminders. Jeff Ulmer has joined Cull’s staff as an assistant after spending the previous two seasons in the Arizona Coyotes organization.
“Getting the staff together was a top priority this offseason,” explained Cull. “Because of covid, prep work amongst the staff has been a challenge. We all got together in person for the first time just over a week ago.
Gary Agnew is a very experienced coach with a great track record, so he is a great resource for myself and the players. Jeff Ulmer had a very experienced playing career and is not far removed from playing. Curtis Sanford has been working with me for a couple years and has done a great job with goalies like Mikey DiPietro.”
Many of the Canucks have played for Cull in the past, but there are some fresh faces walking around Abbotsford Centre too. Training camp figures to serve as a tune up for the regular season but also an opportunity for Trent and his staff to get to know their players.
“This is going to be the best group of players I have had a chance to work with during my time with Vancouver,” said the Canucks’ bench boss. “Depending on the health of our club and Vancouver, we have the opportunity to potentially have a good team, a competitive team, and that’s exciting.”
The Canucks roster will evolve and take shape over the course of the week as the Vancouver Canucks continue to tinker with the NHL roster. However, the names listed above serve as the foundation for the Abbotsford club and many of these names are expected to feature prominently in the success of the team.
BY THE NUMBERS
14 - The Abbotsford Canucks have 14 players on their roster as we begin training camp. Eight will be up front playing forward, four will be patrolling the blue line as defencemen and two will be stationed between the pipes in net. This is a small group right now, but reinforcements will soon be making the trip east from Vancouver to Abbotsford.
10 – Of the 14 players on the roster, 10 have appeared in at least one game in the American Hockey League. Ashton Sautner enters camp as the most experienced player on the club. The 27-year-old defenceman has appeared in 242 career games across his six AHL seasons. Spencer Martin, Sheldon Rempal, Vincent Arseneau, John Stevens and Sautner have all dressed in at least 100 AHL games.
3 - There is a distinctly local flavour to this crop of talent. Of the 14 names on our current roster, three hail from British Columbia and more local players are expected to join the club in the coming days. Devante Stephens hails from White Rock and played minor hockey in Langley. Tristen Nielson was born in Fort St. John and Jarid Lukosevicius calls Squamish home. It’s also worth noting that there are a couple of former Vancouver Giants on the team in Nielson and former captain, Alex Kannok Leipert.
2 – Two of the 14 players currently suiting up in training camp for the Abbotsford Canucks have played at least one regular season game in the National Hockey League. Sheldon Rempal is the most veteran NHL player in Canucks camp. Rempal has laced up his skates 10 times in the NHL over the course of two seasons with the Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes. Martin played two games in net for the Colorado Avalanche during the 2016.17 campaign.
FOLLOW FROM HOME
All practices during training camp at Abbotsford Centre will be closed to fans. The best way to stay informed on what’s happening during training camp is to follow us online on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
We will be providing daily updates here on abbotsford.canucks.com, including video interviews with players and staff, and feature articles.