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Two down, three to go

Cale Fleury (pictured during a prospect scrimmage Wednesday) is making a strong push for a spot on the Kootenay Ice blueline. - Taylor Rocca Photo
Cale Fleury (pictured during a prospect scrimmage Wednesday) is making a strong push for a spot on the Kootenay Ice blueline.
— image credit: Taylor Rocca Photo

Taylor Rocca

With the first two days in the books, every player at Kootenay Ice training camp has now seen the ice in a game situation.

The prospects fired things up Wednesday but it was the veteran players that really turned up the pace of play Thursday.

"Day two was equally as good as day one," assistant coach Jay Henderson said Thursday night. "The young guys fit in very well and with the older guys, it was obviously a little bit quicker pace. It was physical and a good second day overall."

Thursday evening provided fans with the first opportunity to get a look at Alexander Chirva. The Moscow native spent the 2013-14 season with the Moose Jaw Warriors, registering two goals and six points in 58 games. He joins the Ice after the team selected him with the 33rd overall pick in the 2014 CHL Import Draft.

The shifty Russian showed glimpses of potential, but was relatively quiet through the evening affair.

"He has some skill," Henderson said of the 18-year-old Russian. "He skates very well. Moving forward and getting into exhibition, we'd like to see him be a little bit hungrier and physical. But that will come."

The blueline is quickly become host to curious storylines that should only deepen as camp wears on and eventually transitions into the exhibition season.

First it was the relatively unexpected absence of two 20-year-old defencemen, Landon Cross and Landon Peel. Now, the spotlight shifts to the other end of the age spectrum and 15-year-old Cale Fleury.

The younger brother of Carolina Hurricanes first round pick Haydn Fleury is entering his 16-year-old year of major junior, but won't celebrate his "Sweet 16" until Nov. 19.

"He doesn't play like a 16-year-old," Henderson said of the younger Fleury. "He's very composed and he makes good decisions. He's hard to play against.

"I'm very thrilled with him so far and we expect more out of him, for sure."

Training camp continues today, with when Team Blue faces Team White at 11 a.m. Team Blue gets a double dose of pain as they return to the ice at 6 p.m. to take on Team Black in the evening scrimmage.

The festivities get underway early Saturday morning as Team White goes head-to-head with Team Black at 9 a.m. The final scrimmage of the weekend goes at 2:30 p.m. when Team Blue plays Team White.

Kootenay Ice training camp culminates, as it does every year, with the Black & White Intrasquad Game Sunday at noon. All proceeds from the gate go towards the Cranbrook and Kimberley United Way. Fans are encouraged to bring a minimum donation of $5 for entry.

With camp closing out just as quickly as it started, these next few days could be the last opportunity for some players to prove they deserve a chance to get into exhibition play and extend their time in Cranbrook.

"The biggest thing is the compete. Obviously you want to see the physical play," Henderson said. "These guys have been on the ice quite a bit, so they're a little bit tired. Overall, we want the compete and we want guys to stand out.

"It's different when you play against other teams and the competition picks up. Moving forward, we're talking about a lot of guys right now but the exhibition season will tell us a lot more."

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