Craig MacTavish (left), then coach of the American Hockey League affiliate Chicago Wolves, gives Vancouver Canucks prospect Bill Sweatt (right) some advice at team practice in Penticton September 10, 2011. MacTavish is now the head of hockey operations for the Edmonton Oilers.
2013 signee defenseman Jaccob Slavin of Erie, Colo, is headed to USHL Chicago’s training camp this week to start another year preparing for college hockey, along with teammate and 2013 CC forward signee Christian Heil, 6-foot-1, 178 pounds, of Westminster.
Heil recorded 19 points (8g,11a) in 55 games this past season.
Slavin, 6-2, 170, plans to focus on improving his skating, backwards and forwards, while looking to assume a larger leadership role on the Steel.
“It really depends on what our captain decides on college,” he said last week. “If he leaves, I would like to think I would be considered for a role.”
Slavin, an alumnus of the Denver-area Colorado Thunderbirds club program along with Heil, played his first full season with Chicago this past season, recording 30 points (3g,27a) in 60 games and a plus-6 rating. That was a huge step up compared to the one point (1g) and minus-15 in 17 games the season before.
The improvement has made him a possible late-round draft pick later this month at the 50th NHL Draft in Pittsburgh.
“The Thunderbirds did a good job preparing me for juniors but it was a big step up,” Slavin said. “They run a good program.”
Both Colorado residents are part of the first Tigers freshman class to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which begins play in October 2013.
Here is the Associated Press’ story on the NCHC inking a 5-year contract with the Target Center in Minneapolis. The WCHA league meetings start today when a postseason home will be discussed.