Oilers set for start of training camp
BY JOHN RITTENOURE World Correspondent
Monday, October 08, 2012
10/08/12 at 5:44 AM
Tulsa Oilers training camp begins Monday, and it's one of the most stressful times of the year for coach Bruce Ramsay.
After a summer of chasing leads and signing players, it's finally time to bring them to Tulsa and put a team on the ice. And it all must happen before the Central Hockey league season opener in two weeks.
"It is very stressful in just the amount of work load that goes with training camp," said Ramsey, who is starting his fourth season as Oilers coach. "Training camp is the hardest part of the year.
"It has been a little crazy getting everything coordinated when you have 30 players coming in from all over North America. You have to put them up, feed them, make sure immigration is done right, getting housing and moving furniture into apartments.
"It all has to come together in a hurry, and that is one of the biggest parts of my job. You always want your training camp to go smoothly and run professionally."
Open tryouts were held Oct. 1-3 for players not invited to training camp, and a couple of them may earn their way to camp.
"This is just more of a scrimmage," Ramsay said of the tryouts. "We had some players come in that are trying to earn a spot on our main camp roster. This is their opportunity to show me what they can do."
When camp begins, 30 players will be trying to prove they should play for the Oilers.
"My roster has to be down to basically 19 players. I will have to make some tough decisions. This is probably one of the best recruiting classes I have had in a while."
This year's team will have more experienced players than last year's, which was stocked with a CHL-high nine rookies.
"Last year we were a very young team, and throughout the year our best players were rookies," Ramsay said of last year's team, which finished in fifth with a 29-29-8 record. "When you bring in rookies, you are not sure what you are expecting. Fortunately for us last year we had some very good rookies."
The current NHL lockout is expected to cause a trickle-down effect of players from the NHL to the AHL and down to the CHL. However, none of those players are expected to make their way to the Oilers' roster.
"Once the NHL does end their lockout, the NHL will be taking players back," Ramsay said. "I am not going to put myself in that position where players here are looking to move somewhere else. I don't want to lose a bunch of guys when the NHL ends their lockout. That is not going to be our situation."
Monday: Training camp opens
Saturday: Exhibition at Wichita
Oct. 14: Exhibition vs. Denver in Dodge City, Kan.
Oct. 20: Regular season opener at Wichita
Oct. 26: Home opener vs. Quad City at BOK Center