Sonne showed up bigger, stronger

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:56 AM ET

Brett Sonne could have gone through the motions.

Show up, go for a bit of a skate and wait for main camp to begin. But he didn't.

The club's top bantam draft pick in 2004 showed off the skill that makes him a lock for the Hitmen roster this season.

Assistant coach Blaine Forsythe was happy to see the 16-year-old put in a full day's work.

"I thought he worked hard," Forsythe said after yesterday's rookie camp concluded. "A lot of times, you get kids who have had some experience in the league and they come in and take it easy. From the drop of the puck in the first practice, he's shown that he's here to make this club and he's not taking anything for granted.

"He wants to be here and he's going to make sure it happens."

Sonne scored his team's only two goals in a 6-2 loss and he could have even had more after missing a few breakaways.

"That's the way it goes," Sonne shrugged. "They don't always go in."

Sonne is noticeably bigger than he was four months ago when Calgary's season wrapped up with a playoff loss to Brandon.

"I wanted to stay in shape throughout the summer and get ready for the season," he said. "It was really important for me to get stronger and faster so I can keep up with the speed level (in the WHL)."

Forsythe said Sonne's commitment to the off-season training program has paid off.

"He's bigger. He's almost 6-foot-1 and he's probably added 15 pounds. It shows in his stride, he's a lot more powerful. That'll give him more speed and make him more effective in this league."

Sonne, who saw action in a half dozen games with the Hitmen last season, picked up 52 points in 45 games in the PIJHL JR. B circuit.

As a black ace during the playoff run, Sonne was able to listen to and watch players like Ryan Getzlaf and see how they prepared themselves for important games.

"That was huge," Forsythe said. "He was there the whole time. For a guy like (rookie d-man) Alex Plante, who got to play in some of the biggest games we've had in the last three years, it's going to pay some dividends."

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MOVING FORWARD: The Hitmen will carry 64 bodies into main camp as the vets hit the ice this morning.


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