Hitmen vets jetting to NHL camps

SCOTT FISHER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

Could the last Calgary Hitmen player to leave town please turn out the lights?

On second thought, maybe leave them on.

Hitmen players need to find their way with camp continuing today despite more than a third of the players leaving this week for NHL camps throughout the continent.

The rest of the team will be in Airdrie tonight for the pre-season opener against the Red Deer Rebels.

Third-year centre Brett Sonne is among 10 Hitmen who will be skating with the pros this week.

"It should be fun," said Sonne, chosen by the St. Louis Blues in the third round of June's NHL Entry Draft.

"It'll be a new experience. I just want to go out there, make an impression and stay as long as I can."

Right-winger Keegan Dansereau leaves tomorrow for camp with the Florida Panthers.

"I'm a little nervous, but I know what to expect this year," said Dansereau, a free-agent invitee who attended the Dallas Stars camp last September. "I know a few guys who are going down to the (rookie) tournament as well."

Last year, Sonne improved both his goal and point production by nine as he had 21 goals and 30 points.

He'll be expected to take a bigger step this season when he'll be key in the offence and will likely see significant time on the special teams.

He said he's willing to take on whatever the coaching staff puts on his plate. But there's only one goal he's focused on.

"We're going for it," he said. "We're not just competing, we're here to win a championship. That's our goal."

Dansereau and centre Ryan White, who will be at camp with the Montreal Canadiens, were in a league of their own at Sunday's Black & White game.

They toyed with their younger opposition and pretty much did whatever they pleased with the puck. The chemistry between the two linemates is clearly still there.

"We were just having fun out there, trying to make it look pretty," said Dansereau, who saw his point totals balloon from 33 to a career-best 59 last season.

PRE-SEASON RUNDOWN

After tonight's tilt in Airdrie, the Hitmen will continue their five-game pre-season schedule at Centennial Arenas Friday against the Kootenay Ice (7 p.m.).

They'll face the expansion Edmonton Oil Kings Saturday at Okotoks (7:30 p.m.).

The final two games are at Father David Bauer (Tues., Sept. 11) against the Medicine Hat Tigers and at Lacombe (Friday, Sept. 14) against the Rebels

The Hitmen open the regular season Friday, Sept. 21.


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