CHL: Open for business

Labor Day weekend in the United States means it's time for work if you're a Canadian major junior player. 2008 first-rounders Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis of the WHL were the first to get cracking on their 2008-09 campaigns, and by now the rest of the CHL has started their Memorial Cup quest. Niagara defenseman Drew Schiestel (2007, 2nd round) will participate in an intrasquad scrimmage this evening before opening the exhibition season with a pair of weekend contests. The Dogs will travel to Jamestown, NY for a game against the Erie Otters on Saturday, then return home to skate with Oshawa the next day. Another player who should get an extended look from the Dogs over the weekend is Hamburg, NY native John Cullen. A goaltending standout last season with Rochester of the Empire Junior Hockey League, the 17-year old recently played for Team USA at the U-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial and has been very sharp in the early sessions in St. Catherines. As the players hit the ice in Saginaw, it seems that Nick Crawford (2008, 6th round) will have some new faces to work with as the OHL's Spirit sorts out their blueline. The Michigan-based club will play a two-game exhibition set with Sault Ste. Marie on September 6 and 7 before playing another home-and-home with Schiestel's Ice Dogs the following weekend. The inaugural training camp for the Montreal Juniors hockey club (formerly the St. John's Fog Devils) opened today at the Verdun Auditorium. A pair of Sabres second rounders, Luke Adam (2008) and TJ Brennan (2007), will play leading offensive roles as the QMJHL returns to Montreal for the first time since 2003. The Juniors open exhibition action on Sunday against a Gatineau Olympiques club lead by 2008 playoff darling, Paul Byron (2007, 6th round). J.S. Allard (2007, 5th round) will wear a Remparts uniform for the first time on Sunday when Quebec opens against Rimouski. A teammate of Adam and Brennan the past two seasons in St. John's, Allard was part of a June deal that sent Angelo Esposito back to his hometown of Montreal. Also on Sunday, class of '08 members Jacob Lagacé (Chicoutimi) and Jordon Southorn (PEI) will kick off their Q warm-ups with games against Baie-Comeau and Saint John. Speaking of Saint John, 2006 fourth-rounder Felix Schutz is skating a few laps at the training camp of his former QMJHL team while waiting for the start of Sabres camp.
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