The Carolina Hurricanes hosted twenty-nine players at their rookie camp in Detroit last week. Twelve players were given tryouts. Out of the remaining seventeen, all but one had been drafted by the Canes. The camp, and ensuing rookie tournament, was a chance to get an invitation to the Hurricanes Training camp in Ft. Myers, Florida.
On September 1, the rookies moved to Kitchener, to participate in the Maple Leafs Rookie Tournament. Here the Canes, Leafs, Sabres, and Rangers rookies played in a round robin tournament. The Director of Amateur Scouting for Carolina, Sheldon Ferguson, told The Kitchener Waterloo Record, “The good thing with this tournament is they’re playing against kids their own age, so you get to accurately see how your own guys stackup.”
Game one saw the Leafs youngsters top the Canes 5-3. The Leafs offense poured it on in the third to break a 3-3 tie, before the Canes gave up an empty net goal. Jeff Ulmer, Brett Lysak, and Jaraslav Svoboda notched goals for the Canes. As with most training camp games, play was physical, with Greg Kuznik and Michal Dvorak showing off for the scouts.
On September 3, the Canes bounce back with a 6-3 victory over the Sabres. Yauheni Kurylin, Carolina’s ninth pick in the 1999 draft, scored twice. Also scoring for Carolina was Greg Koehler, Jeff Ulmer, Kevin McKay, and Jaraslav Svoboda. The size of the Canes forwards wore out the smaller Sabres. Chris Madden, the Guelph Strom goalie who was the Hurricanes sixth pick in the 1998 draft, played all sixty minutes. Physical play continued, with Todd Kidd mixing things up for the Hurricanes.
The final day of the tournament, September 4, pitted the Hurricanes and the Rangers at Dom Cardillo Arena. The Canes rookies stood up to an early goal by New York and won 3-2. Carolina Goals came from Jeff Heerema, Jaraslav Svoboda, and Kevin McKay. Heerema, of the Sarnia Sting, also stepped up the physical play, earning him a fight minute major for fighting in the second period. Highlights for the Hurricanes included an assist for David Tanabe on Heerema’s goal, which was on the powerplay. Tanabe had recently elected to leave the University of Wisconsin, after the Canes made him their first round draft choice in this year’s draft. Also, more outstanding goaltending as the Rangers outshot the Canes 15-5 in the third.
With their two wins and one loss, the Hurricanes matched Toronto’s record. Both the Rangers and the Sabres ended up with the opposite record of one victory and two defeats.
Svoboda scored one goal in each game to lead that department. Ulmer, Kurylin, and McKay followed with two goals each. Svoboda’s goals earned him an invitation to Florida along with Jeff Heerema, David Tanabe, Nikos Tselios, Randy Petruk, Craig Adams, Josef Vasicek, and Greg Koehler. Not attending the camp, but also invited to Florida, was Fred Knipscheer, who played for Cincinnati of the IHL last season.
It is good to see the Hurricanes prospects get this season off to a good start, as the team makes its move to more youth and home grown talent.