Sioux Falls, S.D. – The Sioux Falls Stampede opened training camp Monday afternoon at the Scheels IcePlex in Sioux Falls. The date marks the unofficial transition from offseason to the beginning of the 2017–18 season.
Twenty-nine players took to the ice vying for one of the 23 roster spots for this season's squad. A notable absence was goaltender Mikhail Berdin. Berdin is attending Winnipeg Jets prospect camp.
Training camp returns 10 veteran players from last season's team, with four defensemen, five forwards and one goaltender.
Penn State University commit and veteran defenseman Paul DeNaples was excited for the new season and intrigued by the strong veteran presence.
"We have a lot of skill upfront and a great group of veteran defensive players," said DeNaples. "..the guys, I feel like were blending well together. I think were going to have a good year. There is a great group of guys in the locker room."
While there were several new faces who took to the ice, many players are no strangers to the United States Hockey League (USHL), including Calgary Flames prospect Mitchell Mattson, who was traded to the Stampede during the USHL Phase II draft.
"I played my first full season last year [in Bloomington], so it's good to have that confidence. Confidence builds as you go throughout the season, so for me I need to have the mindset to take on a bigger role this season," Mattson said.
Other players with league experience include defenseman Corson Green, who won a Clark Cup Championship with the Chicago Steel last season, and forward Kevin Conley, who spent three seasons with the Youngstown Phantoms and a season with the University of Denver.
The team will continue to practice every day before traveling to Sioux City next week to take on the Sioux City Musketeers for the first preseason game of the season on Tuesday, Sept. 19. The squad then returns home for back-to-back home preseason games Friday, Sept. 22 and Saturday, Sept. 23 against Fargo Force and Musketeers at the Scheels IcePlex before traveling to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the 2017 Fall Classic. Tickets for the preseason games are free to season ticket holders or $10 at the door.
The Stampede open the regular season on the road Oct. 6 versus the Force and open at home the following evening against the Waterloo Black Hawks. Single-game tickets are on sale now at the KELOLAND Box Office.
Click to view the 30-man training camp rosters for each league team.