1. Home
  2. News
  3. Steelheads go to work on Monday

Steelheads go to work on Monday

Thursday, September 28th
Steelheads go to work on Monday

The temperature drop over the past week, along with the stream of hockey players once again trickling into downtown Boise, is all the proof you need that the off-season is nearly, finally, at an end and that hockey season is once again upon us. It will become official on Monday morning when the Steelheads hit the ice for the first day of training camp and the first day of the team’s 21st season.

The Steelheads will tweak and tinker their maneuvers and make-up over the course of 11 days, taking the ice every day but one and getting themselves back into game shape. While the camp roster has not officially been announced just yet, it’s certain that there will be a lot of new faces trying to make a strong first impression on new teammates and a new coaching staff.

Head Coach Neil Graham spends this week in Texas, helping to run training camp for the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars and also having the opportunity to get an advanced look at five players under Steelheads contract who are trying out for the AHL team. Assistant Coach Everett Sheen remains at CenturyLink Arena making final preparations for what will be a busy week for Idaho’s team.

Sheen enters his second season on the coaching staff, and is preparing for his second training camp.

“It’s the start of a new season, so you always look forward to it,” said Sheen, who played five pro seasons before joining Coach Graham behind the bench. “It’s an exciting time to teach your team the new systems and bring everyone together as quick as you can. They’re ready to get out there and start winning games again.”

It will be a much more conventional coaching experience for Sheen than he encountered in his first training camp. Last fall, because of the effect the World Cup of Hockey had on the length and timing of NHL training camps, the Steelheads were only able to hold training camp for six days, two of which were consumed by exhibition games. To make matters more challenging, many of the Steelheads players that would be on the opening day roster missed much of that week while participating in higher level camps.

Every ECHL team endured that struggle, and all are likely pleased for a return to normalcy this October as they make plans for the season’s opening month.

“Last year we had six days and went right at it. We didn’t have as much time to teach and had to do it as the season progressed,” said Sheen. “This year we’ll have two full weeks to delve into our systems and make sure that everyone is on the same page and ready to go for Opening Day.”

“Last year was unconventional but we prepared the same as we are now. It’s our preparation and our warm-up as coaches to know that we’re ready to go on Day 1.”

First and foremost, players will be happy to get back on the ice in a structured setting. They are on the ice as much as they can be in the summer, but never with 20 other players and never with a practice plan that extends much beyond individual skill work. Sheen, only two years removed from attending training camps as a player, knows the value of getting back on the ice in a team setting.

“In this day and age, all players are in such good shape. The one thing that was tough when I was playing was that you skated all summer but it was never the same pace as a regular-season practice. Training camp was always good to get you up to speed on the ice.”

Training camp will also serve as an orientation for the new players in town. Players do their homework before they select a new city to call home, but there is only so much you can learn from internet sites and travel brochures. Boise isn’t just where these men will play hockey, but also where they will live.

“Boise is such a great city that guys always get acclimated quickly,” said Sheen. “Training camp is about hockey, but these guys will have a chance to explore as well.”

They won’t be the only ones testing out something new.

Graham and Sheen now have new weapons at their disposal, players with skill sets that the coaches didn’t have access to during last year’s 43-win campaign. Like managing a fantasy roster, the coaches imagined line combinations and conjured up power play units on the basis of what could be when their full roster came to town with weapons known and unknown.

Those talents will be on the ice in just a few days, and the coaching staff will be able to make those summer plans into a reality.

“We put lines together in our heads and on paper, and we try them out in camp. If it doesn’t work out on Day 1, you don’t make changes right away necessarily. But if it’s obvious a line won’t work out you’ll tinker with it. You go in with a plan and you adjust accordingly.”

The final adjustments won’t be finished by the night of October 13th, when all eyes will be on center ice at CenturyLink Arena for Game 1 of 72. But in eight practices and two exhibition games over the next two weeks, the hockey players in Boise will have every opportunity to make their case to be a part of the journey. Fans hope that journey will culminate in the franchise’s third Kelly Cup.

“You’re watching how individuals compete and what their work-ethic is,” said Sheen. “If you’re paying attention, you’ll find the intangibles you’re looking for.”

Latest News

More News
STEELHEADS SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE IN OVERTIME LOSS
STEELHEADS SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE IN OVERTIME LOSS
STEELHEADS FACE ELIMINATION TOMORROW AFTER GAME FOUR LOSS
STEELHEADS FACE ELIMINATION TOMORROW AFTER GAME FOUR LOSS
THIRD PERIOD RALLY COMES UP SHORT AS MAVERICKS TAKE 2-1 SERIES LEAD
THIRD PERIOD RALLY COMES UP SHORT AS MAVERICKS TAKE 2-1 SERIES LEAD

Get Hockey Updates

Sign up for our email newsletter to be the first to know about news and upcoming games!