Time for Oil King rookies to shine

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

The rookies were put through their paces yesterday.

The Edmonton Oil Kings officially kicked off their season with rookie fitness testing at Body by Bennett, a west-end fitness club.

Today the WHL hopefuls hit the ice for the first day of rookie camp.

"For the older guys we're looking for improvements from the spring," said Oil Kings GM Bob Green. "At this age, they all have the same issues, they all have to get bigger and they all have to get stronger.

"We want to see a lot of improvement, and for the younger kids, it's an introduction to the process. A lot of them haven't been through this before and they have to learn where they have to be at to play at this level, what kind of shape they have to be in and how hard they have to work to play here."

There were days where training camp was used as a method of getting in shape for the upcoming season. Those days, however, are long gone.

Now players are expected to be in top shape by the time they arrive in camp.

"All these kids work out to a certain degree," Green said. "But part of the learning process is understanding how hard you have to work. In this day and age most of the kids have personal trainers that they work with. I think they find out at a young age that if you try to do it alone at the gym, it's pretty tough. But that's part of the learning process, we understand that and we're here to help these kids."

The Oil Kings have 80 players attending rookie camp, roughly 20 of which will receive invites to the team's main camp starting Monday in Fort Saskatchewan.


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