The training camp for the Phoenix Coyotes, the new NHL parent of the Portland Pirates, officially opens today at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz.
Players report for physicals and fitness testing. The first on-ice practice sessions are scheduled for Saturday.
In June, the Pirates became affiliated with the Coyotes after the Buffalo Sabres moved their top minor league team back to Rochester, N.Y., following three seasons in Portland.
In all, 59 players have been invited to attend the Coyotes’ training camp, which runs until Oct. 4. Twenty-four of those players were in the American Hockey League at one point or another last season.
The roster must be trimmed to 23 players by Oct. 8 when the Coyotes open the regular season on the road against the San Jose Sharks.
For the past 10 days, Ray Edwards, the new coach of the Pirates, has joined with Portland Pirates assistant coach John Slaney and Coyotes director of player of development Sean Burke and Coyotes development coach Dave King to handle the on-ice activities during the NHL team’s rookie camp at Jobing.com Arena.
“The four of us have been just putting (the players) through the paces, and it allows the scouts and the managers to evaluate and see who might continue on to the main camp,” he said.
During the main camp, Edwards, entering his second full season as an AHL coach, won’t spend any time on the ice with the players.
“I’ll evaluate players,” he said. “When we go to Anaheim and Los Angeles, and there are split-squad games, I’ll be helping to coach one of the games.”
During the rookie camp, the 2011 Hobey Baker Award winner, Andy Miele, who signed with Phoenix after four seasons at the University of Miami in Ohio, has proven to be very impressive.
“Andy Miele has really stood out sort of above and beyond everyone else,” Edwards said. “He’s ready to turn pro. Whether it’s the National League or the American League, we’ll see.”
Edwards also has been impressed with the play of Brett Hextall, who is the son of the Los Angeles Kings’ assistant general manager, Ron Hextall.
“He’s been more of the guy I was anticipating, an ornery player, a sand-papery type of guy,” the Pirates’ coach said.
Edwards also has been impressed with the play of defensemen Mike Stone and Chris Summers, who have also made a decent impression, as well as center Brendan Shinnimin, a free agent who turned pro after finishing his junior career in the Western Hockey League with the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash.
The Pirates are scheduled to hold their first on-ice training session Sept. 26 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The AHL team will open the regular season Oct. 8 on the road against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Potland’s home opener is scheduled for Oct. 15 against the Manchester Monarchs.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: