SUN Hockey Pool

Prospect getting down to business

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

Chris Vande Velde is looking forward to taking the next step.

The Edmonton Oilers prospect graduated from the University of North Dakota and will be attending his first training camp in the fall.

This week, he's skating along with the rest of the prospects at the Oilers rookie development camp.

"No more school, it's all business now," Vande Velde said. "It's an exciting time in my life and I'm ready for the next chapter. It's a nice change, I think I'm ready for this."

Drafted by the Oilers in the fourth round -- 97 overall -- of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Vande Velde scored 16 goals and added 25 assists in 42 games with North Dakota last season.

He's hoping to challenge for a roster spot with the Oilers' AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City this year.

"Things finished really well, I had a pretty good year last year," Vande Velde said. "I think my senior year got me ready to make the jump into professional hockey and hopefully things go well next year.

"The length of the season is going to be longer and the skilled guys are definitely better, teams have more depth and everyone is consistent out there. You really can't have a night off. You have to go out there and work hard every shift."

Prior to this year, the six-foot- two, 204-lb native of Moorhead, Minn., has been unable to attend training camp due to his college eligibility.

He'll be attending this one with a young and exciting crop of players.

"It's an honour to be part of this group," he said. "The team is rebuilding and we have a solid group of young guys. It's an exciting time for Edmonton and I'm just happy to be a part of it."


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