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Hockey Returns as T-Birds Open Training Camp

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Robert Lipsbergs and the rest of the T-Birds are back at it Thursday (photo Seattle Thunderbirds)

By Andrew Eide

The wait is finally over. Summer is winding down and hockey is back. Thursday morning the Seattle Thunderbirds begin their 2013-2014 journey as they hit the ice for training camp.

The camp starts with scrimmages on Thursday and Friday at 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.. These sessions will feature the T-Birds 15-16 year old prospects, draft picks and listed players. In between the sessions the returning players will conduct practices as they get ready for their scrimmages over the weekend.

The first of those scrimmages is Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. with Sunday featuring two scrimmages with the returning players - again at 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The weekend concludes Monday with a full-blown scrimmage with regular jerseys and timing, beginning at 5 p.m.

All of these sessions are free to the public and are at the ShoWare Center.

The T-Birds have high expectations for this season and this weekend is the first step to live up to them. This will also be your chance to glimpse a bit of the future as first round picks Dante Fabbro, Kaden Elder should be playing on Thursday and Friday.

The T-Birds have a lot of interesting competition for roster spots that will play out over the next few weeks. One of those competitions is over who gets the nod in net. Seattle's goal crease will be battled for by returning players Danny Mumaugh, Justin Myles and newcomer Devon Fordyce. Then there is also 2012 draft pick Logan Flodell who has looked good. All four should get plenty of net time this weekend and throughout the preseason.

The preseason will also determine what Seattle's defensive corps will look like. Is there room for rookies Ethan Bear and Austin Douglas to crack the lineup? What about other rookie defensemen like Zach Lamothe, Luke Osterman, and Austin Wong?

Then there are the forwards. Seattle returns some strong players from last year but there are still some questions up front. Who will Matthew Barzal play with? During camp last year he showed some chemistry playing with Riley Sheen and it will be interesting to see if they get paired up in camp this year. What would a Seth Swenson-Barzal-Branden Trook line look like?

Seattle lost three of their centers from last year, so they will be trying out some new players in camp down the middle. Will one of those players be newcomers Scott Easnor or Lane Pederson? Will Alex Delnov move back to center where he had an up-and-down year last year. Can Justin Hickman slide into a center position?

There are several questions to be answered and a lot of work to do for the T-Birds. It all starts Thursday morning at 9 a.m. - hockey is back. If you are unable to make it to the ShoWare Center this weekend check back here as we will have recaps of each day and let you know who is doing what on the ice.

Follow Andrew on twitter @andyeide

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