POWAY, Calif. - The San Diego Gulls opened training camp Monday with 26 players participating in an 90-minute practice at The Rinks-Poway Ice in what coach Dallas Eakins called "an inspiring day."
"We are ready to get on the journey full of ups and downs," said Eakins, who is in his third season as Gulls coach. "We started today to prepare to win hockey games and develop hockey players."
It was great to see the guys from last year push the pace and set the example of how we do work. It was heartening."
The Gulls training camp roster includes 13 players who played for the team last season, three who played for other American Hockey League teams, six who played in the ECHL, one level below the AHL, along with four players with no professional experience.
The training camp roster will grow as the Anaheim Ducks, the Gulls NHL parent team, reduce their roster to the NHL regular-season limit of 23 by the Oct. 3 deadline. The Ducks have 44 players on their roster.
The Gulls have finished second in the Pacific Division and lost in the division finals in both their AHL seasons.
The Gulls will play their first exhibition game Thursday against the Ontario Reign, the Los Angeles Kings' AHL affiliate, at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. The teams will also play an exhibition game next Monday at Honda Center in Anaheim.
The Gulls will face the Tucson Roadrunners, the Arizona Coyotes AHL affiliate, in an exhibition game Saturday at Valley View Casino Center.
The Gulls will open the regular season Oct. 7 at Tucson.
When the Gulls take the ice for their home opener on Friday, October 13, the game will be televised on FOX 5.
The showdown against the Texas Stars is one of six games that will be televised on FOX 5 during the 2017-1018 season.
Here is the full slate of Gulls games that will be televised on FOX 5:
- Friday, October 13 vs Texas Stars
- Friday, November 10 vs Stockton Heat
- Friday, November 17 vs Tucson Roadrunners
- Friday, December 22 vs Ontario Reign
- Friday, January 19 vs San Jose Barracuda
- Friday, March 30 vs Cleveland Monsters
** All games to be aired on FOX 5 San Diego start at 7 p.m.
Monday's practice was the first of four that will be open to the public. The others are scheduled from 10 a.m.-noon Tuesday and Wednesday and 10:30 a.m.-noon Friday at The Rinks-Poway Ice. Admission is free to all the open practices.