Portland Pirates Coach Ray Edwards and his staff headed to Arizona on Wednesday to resume giving lessons in the “Coyote Way.”
Starting Friday, Edwards will help continue the education of 34 young players in the “Coyote Way” at the Phoenix Coyotes’ rookie camp.
The message is simple.
“This is the way this organization does things,” Edwards said. “This is the culture. This is how we work. This is how we practice. This is how we conduct ourselves with the media. This is how we are on a day-to-day basis. This is who we are. This is how we play and what we’re all about.”
The Pirates became the new American Hockey League affiliate of the Coyotes in June after the Buffalo Sabres moved their minor league operation back to Rochester, N.Y., after three seasons in Portland.
For the previous four seasons, the Coyotes were affiliated with the San Antonio Rampage.
Edwards, in his second full season as an AHL coach, said a lot of the players who will be at the rookie camp were introduced to the “Coyote Way” back in July at development camp.
“What we will do at rookie camp is take it to the next level,” he said. “We’ll start talking about the structure of our game.
“We’re a team that always has to defend. We’re a team that has to compete real hard.”
The campers, composed primarily of players 23 years old and under, will take to the ice for the first time Saturday at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz.
The squad will practice and scrimmage for three days before heading to California to play two games against the Los Angeles Kings’ rookies at that NHL team’s training facility in El Segundo.
Phoenix’s full-team training camp opens Sept. 16 at the Jobing.com Arena with on-ice practice sessions starting the following day.
Andy Miele, the 2011 Hobey Baker Award winner from Miami University in Ohio, will attend the rookie camp.
“In rookie camp, he should go there and stand out,” Edwards said. “He’s an older guy and he’s playing against younger guys.”
The 23-year-old Miele is a 5-foot-9, 175-pound center who plays much bigger than his size.
“He’s going to be a play-making guy, but what he has is he’s got some grit to him,” Edwards said. “He’s not afraid to go into traffic, and he’s got a little fire in him.
“It will be real interesting to see how he does once the main camp starts in games with pros.”
Brett Hextall, son of L.A. Kings General Manager Ron Hextall, also will attend rookie camp after spending three seasons at the University of North Dakota.
“He’s a college kid, but he’s got a junior hockey mentality,” Edwards said. “He’s a gritty, hard-nosed player. He’s like a Matt Cooke-type of guy.”
As many as 10 of the players at the rookie camp will return to their junior teams and several other campers are headed for ECHL teams.
“A lot of these guys will go back to juniors and some of them aren’t even with the organization,” Edwards said, “But anyone who spends time with us needs to know what our foundation is.”
The Pirates are expected to open their training camp Sept. 25.
The AHL team will open the regular season Oct. 8 on the road against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
The Pirates will play their home opener Oct. 15 against the Manchester Monarchs at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
COYOTES SIGN HOBEY BAKER WINNER: The Coyotes put another Hobey Baker Award winner under contract Wednesday.
The Coyotes signed Ryan Duncan, a 5-8, 175-pound forward to an AHL contract.
In 2007, Duncan, a native of Calgary, Alberta, was named college’s top hockey player following his sophomore season at the University of North Dakota.
Miele, a center, was named college ice hockey’s top player last spring following his final season at Miami University in Ohio, and also is expected to play for the Pirates this season.
During the last two seasons Duncan scored 43 goals and had 68 assists while playing in 99 games for EC Red Bull Salzberg in the Austrian Elite League.
Before going to Europe to play, Duncan played two games for the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the end of the 2009 season.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: