The Spokane Chiefs will conclude their three-day camp with the annual Red-White scrimmage today at 1 p.m., but one of their top players will already be on a flight to Chicago.
Forward Adam Hobson, one of four Chiefs players taken in the 2005 National Hockey League draft, will be off to the Blackhawks’ camp.
Doing the same over the next week will be defenseman Sean Zimmerman (New Jersey) and Jason Lynch (Colorado) and Myles Stoesz (Atlanta). Forward Ned Lukacevic, selected in 2004 by the L.A. Kings, will be attending his second camp. All four are likely to return to the Chiefs, either late in the preseason or early in the regular season.
Lukacevic was invited to the Kings developmental camp over the summer and is in the second year of a two-year contract.
“Hopefully, I can continue my success from this summer, all the way through rookie camp and, hopefully, into the main camp,” Lukacevic said. “I want to stay there as long as I can; hopefully the best will happen.”
Lukacevic said he hopes to bring back leadership skills and added maturity to his teammates after he returns.
Zimmerman said he was pleased to be drafted by a quality organization such as the Devils and will simply go to camp and work hard.
Hobson had similar sentiments with the goal of staying for all three weeks of camp. He was still grinning about draft day.
“I was pretty nervous, just watching on the computer,” he said. “So, when I saw my name, I was pretty excited.”
Lynch and Stoesz were the surprise Chiefs picks in the draft.
“I kept watching the computer screen every time,” said Lynch, who spent the day with his entire family. “I actually saw Zimmy’s name was drafted. I yelled at my parents, told them, and I looked a couple spots up and saw mine.”
Lynch was on the phone with Stoesz’s mother when the Chiefs’ enforcer arrived at his home.
“I watched the first round and got mad seeing all those guys that I played against getting drafted, so I shut it off,” Stoesz said. “I had been at a buddy’s house and was on my way home when my agent called and told me I was drafted. I had just gotten off the phone with my dad when I walked into the house and Jay (Lynch) was on the phone.”
Stoesz wasn’t a player who was rated by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau in the seven-round draft, so his selection shocked everyone, including him.
“I was definitely surprised,” he said.
Most of the players will be attending their team’s rookie camps, but Lynch said Colorado is only having a main camp and he’ll have a few days to impress the team’s brass.
Lukacevic is attending camp for the second year. Asked if he had any advice for the first-time campers, he replied:
“Just do your own thing. They’re all good players; that’s why they were drafted. They can compete with any of those guys.”
Today’s scrimmage is open to the public and is free. Fans are asked to enter the Arena through the southeast doors (near the Chiefs’ office). … Spokane officially begins practicing on Tuesday, after Monday is spent with administrative duties, before heading to Everett at the end of the week for a preseason tournament. The other player who won’t play today is defenseman Matt McCue (concussion), who was injured in a Friday scrimmage. … Three 16-year-old players who are eligible to stay with the team and were impressive enough to wear captain letters on Saturday were defenseman Dan Nycholat, center Chris Langkow and winger Drayson Bowman. All three are likely to still be with the team for today’s game and into the preseason.
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