Edmonton Oil Kings alumnus and former captain Aaron Irving has been here before in different colours.
“This is a huge opportunity for me,” said Irving. “Pro-hockey is a goal for any player so to have the chance to be here with the Canucks is great.”
Joining Vancouver Canucks Rookie Camp in 2017, Irving hopes to break through the barrier. Irving was drafted by the Nashville Predators in 2014 and had the opportunity to participate in their rookie camp in 2015. Last season he attended the Young Stars Classic as part of the Edmonton Oilers Rookie Camp.
“This experience compared to my time in Nashville is very different,” said Irving. “This is a completely different group of guys, expectations and traditions. I’m trying to show my leadership both on and off the ice at any chance I get here.”
Those leadership skills were honed in his time with the Oil Kings as captain of the 2016-17 roster and have been an advantage for him throughout the camp. Irving also brings to the table knowledge of the Canucks organization and how it runs.
“I learnt a lot about what kind of expectations the coaching staff have in having the opportunity to be at the Canucks Development Camp earlier in the summer,” said Irving. “I know how important conditioning is after my time at development camp. This is an ultra-competitive environment so capitalizing on every opportunity is really important.”
“This is an ultra-competitive environment so capitalizing on every opportunity is really important.”
When asked about his time with the Canucks organization, Irving has nothing but complimentary words to share.
“I was spoiled coming from Edmonton with my time with the Oil Kings and that has continued as I have transitioned into spending time with the Canucks,” said Irving. “My experience with the Canucks organization thus far has been world class.”
Another Oil Kings alumnus, Brett Pollock, is also trying to make an impact at camp this year with the Calgary Flames. Pollock spent the 2016-17 season playing for the Adirondack Thunder (ECHL) putting up 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists) in 61 games played. Prior to his time in the ECHL, Pollock spent four seasons playing for the Oil Kings capturing 199 points (89 goals, 110 assists) in 253 games played. Pollock believes that it is crucial to make the most of the off-season to come into camp prepared.
“I had good summer training which has allowed me to come in feeling very confident,” said Pollock. “This is a great opportunity. They’re a great organization. Everyone treats everyone like equals here.”
Irving and Pollock faced one another in the Canucks vs. Flames matchup on Sunday afternoon, as Irving picked up one goal and Pollock picked up two.