HERSHEY, Pa. – The Hershey Bears hit the ice for the first time at Giant Center to open their 2021-22 training camp under new head coach Scott Allen. With many familiar faces on the ice, and some new names looking to make their mark on the organization, there’s much to play for in the days leading up to games counting for points. It’s safe to say hockey is back in Hershey with less than two weeks to go until the season gets underway, but it happened to be one of the most eventful hockey days on and off the ice in The Sweetest Place on Earth.
It was a good day to get back to business as the Bears’ new bench boss met with the media for some of the very first in-person interviews in quite some time. Allen spoke to the great staff of the Bears, which made for a smooth transition to his new role, as the familiarity has led to fewer issues in getting camp going right away. Preparation will be critical as Allen isn’t taking too much from the shortened 2020-21 campaign and building towards a long playoff run. One interesting note Allen made in his availability is speaking towards the depth Hershey boasts each year and only looking from within for players to fill in.
The media also met with captain Matt Moulson, who previously played under Allen with the New York Islanders, and spoke to his work ethic as an essential skill along with the rest of Hershey’s coaching staff. Moulson was asked why he returned this season, to which he simply stated:
“I love Hershey. I love to win and I love Hershey,” Moulson said. “I love the game of hockey still. The people and the organization, and the support we get in the community makes it a fun place to play. Over the last two years it feels like we have a lot of unfinished business and hopefully we get a chance to finish that this year.”
While the excitement is building on the ice, much of the news from the day came away from the ice. With players filtering from Washington to Hershey, the day’s word is waivers as the Capitals made several moves to fill the camp roster for day one. The only player from the Capitals on the list was forward Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, who was the only player to be plucked off waivers by the Buffalo Sabres on Monday. Jonsson-Fjallby will have to play for the Sabres, and if he gets placed on waivers once again, the Capitals will be able to pick him up again and assign him to Hershey. It all depends on if the Sabres want to make him a permanent addition to their lineup, but it’s a big blow to the Bears as Jonsson-Fjallby was one of just three players to reach double digits in goals for the team in 2020-21. Time will tell what comes next.
The Jonsson-Fjallby news was not the only news to speak of on this day. The Capitals announced their top selection of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Vincent Iorio, signed a three-year entry-level contract after the young defenseman jumped into his first professional training camp and preseason action. Iorio is still some time away from joining the Bears, but he will be a crucial piece when he does make the jump to the professional ranks full time. The waiver wire will be worth watching as the Capitals placed goaltender Pheonix Copley for the purpose of assigning him to Hershey, looking to join Ryan Bednard and Hunter Shepard in Chocolatetown.
Capping off a hectic day, the Capitals were in action on Monday night in their fourth preseason contest of the fall. The Caps got a tally from Connor McMichael but dropped the contest by a 4-1 count at Prudential Center, the same area as the Bears would face Binghamton a season ago. The Caps have lost all four games of the preseason so far, and the worst news of the night was the loss of Martin Fehervary to injury. Vitek Vanecek suffered the loss in goal. The Bears continue camp and open preseason play this Friday in Wilkes-Barre.
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