Abbotsford native wants home in Calgary

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

David Van der Gulik calls Abbotsford home, but he'd rather avoid playing there.

"For now, I don't want to be back home -- I don't want to see anyone," said the B.C. product who's trying to stick with the Calgary Flames rather than be returned to the American Hockey League's Abbotsford Heat this season.

"When I left, I said, 'I'll see you guys in June.' "

With a lot of competition up front among Flames hopefuls, it will take a stunning pre-season for Van der Gulik to avoid a homecoming with the Heat this fall.

Call it a great consolation prize if the 26-year-old winger spends a fourth straight season in the minors.

"I look at it as, if I'm gonna be in the minors, I'm gonna be happy to be there," said Van der Gulik, who spent four years at Boston University.

"But I'm not thinking about looking forward to going back home. I'm just focusing on what's at stake here."

Pre-season for evaluation

Flames head coach Brent Sutter will worry less about winning than evaluating his charges in a new atmosphere now that the pre-season schedule has kicked off.

"You evaluate every game through exhibition, like you are in practices. We'll get a good feel on guys, having seen some guys play in game-like situations," Sutter said.

"We just want to see where they fit in -- whether they fit in here or in Abbotsford."

Pay-per-view takes eight

With eight pay-per-view broadcasts added to their TV schedule, the Flames will be gracing the small screen for 78 of their 82 games this season.

Rob Kerr will do play-by-play duties, and Charlie Simmer will take care of colour.


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