By: Kinsey Janke
Switching from wing to wing, or even wing to center, is commonplace between hockey forwards. Though there are distinct differences in the three positions, most players can rotate from spot to spot with ease. Making the leap from defense to forward, however, is something that doesn’t come quite as easy.
The 2013-14 AHL season is where defenseman-turned-forward Tony Turgeon is going to get his first taste of flying down the wing with the San Antonio Rampage. A physical presence on the ice, the 24-year-old North Dakota native racked up 169 penalty minutes in three seasons at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Turgeon was signed to an entry-level contract by the Florida Panthers this summer and is participating in training camp with the Rampage.
Though the switch from defense to offense doesn’t happen as often, Turgeon is not alone. Wendel Clark, former captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, made the switch from the blue line to the red with much success. A defenseman in juniors, Clark was immediately moved to wing upon his NHL arrival and went on to accumulate 564 points in 793 NHL games played.
At the end of the second day of the Rampage’s training camp, Turgeon gave a short glimpse into his arrival in Texas and what he expects for the upcoming season.
San Antonio Rampage: How do you like Texas so far?
Tony Turgeon: I like it. I’m from North Dakota, so the weather is a little bit nicer down here, so that’s nice.
SAR: You decided to forgo your final year at the University of Nebraska-Omaha to go pro, what prompted that decision?
TT: It just came down to me and my family deciding what the best decision for me was and we thought going early would maybe help me in the long run. Hopefully it works out.
SAR: What did you do to prepare for the jump from college hockey to pro hockey?
TT: I just kind of stuck to the same routine and tried to train hard all summer and come to camp ready to go.
SAR: This year has you changing positions from defense to wing, how do you feel about that change?
TT: You know, it will be a learning process but the older guys have been helping me out. They’ve been real open to questions, and the coaching staff has been helping me too. They’re making it a lot easier than I thought it would be. It’s going well.
SAR: Who was your favorite player growing up?
TT: Well, I was a defenseman so my favorite player was Chris Pronger. But now I guess I’ll have to start watching for a new favorite guy, see if I can find a forward.
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