WILMINGTON -- With snacks, reading material, and DVDs at the ready, 24 youngsters are en route from Ristuccia Arena to Kitchener, Ontario, to participate in a rookie tournament next week.
They are expected to arrive late tonight. They will practice tomorrow, then kick off game play on Monday against Toronto at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. The entire front office and coaching staff will be in attendance.
"I'm looking forward to seeing where our kids are at," said director of hockey operations and player development Don Sweeney. "It will kind of give them a leg up going into camp. They'll have their timing down and game feel."
Zach Hamill, Matt Marquardt, Jordan Knackstedt, and Levi Nelson, who were first-year pros last season, will be looked upon to lead the group in Kitchener. Jordan Caron, Zach McKelvie, and Yannick Riendeau will not participate in the tournament because of injuries.
Sweeney said not all players heading to Kitchener will be present for the start of main camp next Saturday.