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As news of the NHL's cancellation of the entire preseason is making it's way from fan to fan, the AHL is opening it's doors for training camp.
For the Portland Pirates, the Phoenix Coyotes' AHL affiliate, a work stoppage is the furthest thing from their minds. With training camp scheduled to start on Saturday, September 29, Coyotes' prospects and two-way players are flooding into the ocean front city.
Among those players are a few familiar faces to Coyote fans. Players like Oliver Ekman-Larsson and 2011 Hobey Baker Award winner, Andy Miele will look to continue building off their impressive 2011-12 seasons during the lockout. Some however are making the trek to AHL training camp for the first time. Brendan Shinnimin, the WHL's leading scorer last season is set to make his debut, as well as some Coyotes drafted but yet to be signed, including Kale Kessy (if he can deal with his seventh WHL suspension that was just handed down). You can also see some of the other players looking to make an impact in this story by YotesGurl.
Much buzz is set around the Pirates this season as the Coyotes sent 29 players down to their AHL affiliate, including David Rundblad, Brandon Gormley, Michael Stone, Chris Summers, and Maxim Goncharov. Overflowing with talent (seriously, think about that blueline at the AHL level), some players can expect to be sent to Gwinnett, Georgia playing for the ECHL's Gladiators while others will return to their respective junior teams.
The Portland Pirates' 20th Anniversary season is set to start on Sunday, October 7th when the Pirates face off against the Manchester Monarchs. Be sure to check back on Five for Howling as we plan to cover the Portland Pirates all season long.