The road to the Memorial Cup is both short and long for the Vancouver Giants.
Short geographically and long chronologically.
The defending Western Hockey League champions began that journey Friday when they opened training camp at Ladner Leisure Centre. They'll host the 89th national junior hockey championship May 18-27, 2007 at the Pacific Coliseum.
"We know where we're going to end up, the process you have to go through to get there is so important," said Giants' head coach Don Hay, who was the 1995 Kamloops Blazers' bench boss when they won the Memorial Cup at home.
Camp started with evaluation for 100 major junior rookies.
Sixty of them were invited to main camp. Veterans begin full workouts today.
"Veterans have come with a great attitude and are working really hard and the young guys, the new players, are excited but they're a little bit nervous at the same time," Hay said. "The nervousness comes from not knowing what to expect."
Giants play an intrasquad game Wednesday at 7 p.m. with celebrity coaches Neil McRae of CKNW and Bro Jake of Rock 101. Admission is by donation.
Giants begin a three-day pre-season tournament Friday at Everett against the Silvertips, Portland Winter Hawks and Spokane Chiefs. They'll play four more exhibition games, including meetings with the expansion Chilliwack Bruins on Sept. 15 in North Delta and Sept. 16 in Chilliwack. Season opener is Sept. 23 against Portland.