Monday marked the first day of training camp at AT&T Center – and the first day of the Peter Horachek era in San Antonio.
While Horachek assisted with drills during the Florida Panthers’ training camp, Monday marked the first time the new Rampage bench boss ran a full practice. And it was clear he has high expectations for the Silver and Black this season.
“We want to play with some aggression,” said Horachek, who was an assistant and associate coach with the NHL’s Nashville Predators for the last nine seasons.
“We want to play with structure and discipline. We want to play with some detail. We want to be a type of team that can outwork other teams and we want to force teams into mistakes. We want to win.”
Practice started with Team Silver taking the ice at 9:45 a.m. and skating in several up-tempo drills before Team Black took the ice at 10:45 a.m. for a short intrasquad scrimmage. Forward Wade Megan tallied the lone goal of the scrimmage to give Team Black the edge.
Following the scrimmage, Team Black stayed on the ice for their 45-minute session that focused on breakouts and cycling down low.
The practice gave the Rampage players a chance to witness Horachek’s style for the first time.
“Anytime a new coach comes in the boys are all eager to hear what he has to say,” said defenseman Michael Caruso. “I really like a lot of his philosophies. It seems to be a fun system to play. I think we’re going to have a good time playing this year. It’s stuff that’s proven and it works. We’ll have a good foundation.”
Goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris said Horachek wants the team to play an aggressive, puck-pursuit style.
“There’s going to be a little bit of a learning curve for a lot of the guys,” he said. “But we’re excited. It’s a fun way to play. I think it’s fun for the fans and fun for the players, too. Certainly, I think it’s physically demanding, but I think we’re all ready.”
To help with the learning curve, Horachek has implemented a lot of the same drills and systems that the players saw when at training camp in Florida.
“It’s a little bit easier transition for the guys who were at the Florida camp because it’s the second time we’ve seen this stuff,” said forward Jon Matsumoto. “I think he’s trying to bring a lot of Nashville and Milwaukee characteristics with a high, up-tempo pace and disciple. He brings a winning attitude and that’s really important.”
Overall, Horacheck was pleased with the first day of training camp and said he liked the work ethic of the team.
“I’m excited about where we are,” he said. “I’m excited about the people I’m working with. It seems like it took a long time to get to this point. We’re really happy to be on the ice for the first day and expect to continue to get better and better every day.”
Forwards: Jack Combs, Jared Gomes, Greg Rallo, Tony Turgeon, Scott Timmins, Logan Shaw, Mattias Lindstrom, Eric Selleck, Anthony Luciani
Defensemen: Jonathan Racine, Denny Urban, Michael Caruso, Zach Miskovic, Myles Harvey, Martin Schumnig, Drew Daniels
Goaltenders: Dov Grumet-Morris, Rob Madore
Forwards: Philippe Cornet, Jon Matsumoto, Jed Ortmeyer, Garrett Wilson, Wade Megan, John McFarland, Philippe Lefebvre, Trevor Lewis, Jonathan Hazen
Defensemen: Greg Zanon, Alex Petrovic, Josh McFadden, John Lee, George Hughes, David MacDonald
Goaltenders: Michael Houser, Chet Pickard