The Kootenay Ice will begin their 2017 preseason tomorrow in Kennewick, Washington but will be without three of their top players.
Team captain Cale Fleury will be busy at the Montreal Canadiens training camp, while forwards Brett Davis and Vince Loschiavo will be off representing the Dallas Stars at the Traverse City Prospects tournament.
All three players were at NHL development camps over the summer, with Fleury having been a third round pick of the Canadiens in the 2017 NHL Entry draft, Davis having been a sixth round pick and Loschiavo having been invited to Dallas as an undrafted 19-year-old player.
After fitness testing in Montreal, Fleury will travel to Toronto to take part in the ‘Rookie Tournament’ which features the Canadiens, Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators top prospects.
The defenceman then expects to join the Habs main camp before returning to Cranbrook.
Davis and Loschiavo, meanwhile, will be at the NHL’s biggest prospects tournament in Traverse City, Michigan.
This year’s event will feature eight teams, with the Stars being joined by prospect teams from the Detroit Red Wings, the Carolina Hurricanes, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Minnesota Wild, the New York Rangers and the St. Louis Blues.
Ice head coach James Patrick, who spent several seasons as an assistant coach with the Stars, is very familiar with the experience his players will have.
“I’ve watched the Traverse City tournament probably for the last seven or eight years and it’s outstanding,” Patrick said. “It’s incredible how good of hockey it is, [for] early September, it’s very competitive. They’re all going to benefit from that.”
Last season, Ice forward Zak Zborosky played for the New York Rangers at the tournament. Zborosky was a linemate of Loschiavo’s for the first half of the 2016-17 season before being traded to the Lethbridge Hurricanes and effectively replaced by Davis.
The Stars play their first Traverse City game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. The Canadiens kick off their tournament against the Maple Leafs at 5:00 p.m. on Friday.