The kids are alright.
Last season, the Hitmen had nine rookies play on a nightly basis and all nine will look to take on bigger roles this campaign.
Check out what they had to say about year one and their goals for their second season in the WHL.
Matthew Armitage: 20 GP 4-7-1 3.55 GAA .890 SV%
“I’m extremely motivated and excited for this new season. I’m going to work hard each day and I’m going to give it everything I have to make that starting position mine. I’ve been making it a priority to work on my technical skills and improve my game in all areas to be a solid number-one guy. I know I belong in this league and I’m comfortable playing in it.”
Hunter Campbell: 59 GP 4 G 7 A 11 PTS
“It was awesome to be here, growing up with the WHL in my backyard – this is where I wanted to be and it’s just a great experience. It’s exciting knowing what we could be: good next year and for years to come. I think we have a special group. Headed into the new season I want to keep pushing myself to be the best that I can be. I want to continue to contribute, not just in 5-on-5 play but also on the special teams.”
Zach Huber: 56 GP 2 G 3 A 5 PTS
“It was a cool experience playing in front of all the fans. I love this rink and playing in front of them and hopefully they’re excited for the future. I want to be one of those young good players to help take this team to another level. I know I have a lot to work on and I’m pushing myself to improve my skating and strength to become a better player.”
Layne Toder: 70 GP 1 G 9 A 10 PTS
“We learned a lot this year and I think for this upcoming season we have the potential to do something special. My first season was all about getting my feet wet and getting used to the WHL style of play but this season I want to contribute to the team in any way I can. I want to play top minutes, take that next step and hopefully be a go-to-guy.”
Jackson van de Leest: 36 GP 1 G 4 A 5 PTS
“It felt good. Obviously it wasn’t the year we wanted as a team and, personally for me with the injury, but the memories on and off the ice made it a blast. For me, this season is about coming in, showing up every day, putting in the work and being a strong defensive presence out there. I’m looking forward to the future and being a part of this strong core we have going forward.”
Andrew Viggars: 39 GP 5 A 5 PTS
“It was huge talking to the older guys who have been around the league and know what it’s like to go through what you went through in your first year. My confidence kept building the more I got into game action and this season I want to come in here and make an impact and help this team win games. I want to be in the lineup as much I can.”
Orca Wiesblatt: 49 GP 5 G 8 A 13 PTS
“It’s an honour to play for a top-end organization. When I came in I thought I made a good impact but for this season I want to take that next step. I want to be a top-end player and chip in more offensively. It’s such a young team and we can catch people by storm and I think that we have a chance to be good for many years.”
Egor Zamula: 69 GP 2 G 16 A 18 PTS
“It was a big season for me coming over to play in the WHL. It was a big transition coming from Russia, learning a new language and adjusting to a new style of play. I want to continue to grow and get better on both the offensive and defensive side. I think we will have a better season and hopefully go far in the playoffs.”
Cael Zimmerman: 66 GP 6 G 12 A 18 PTS
“I was nervous at the start, I definitely had to adjust to the speed of the game but I got more comfortable as the season went on. The team helped me fit in and helped me build that confidence in my game. For this next season, the NHL draft is in the back of my mind. Obviously you want to get drafted but the team is the main focus. I want to help us to be in a playoff spot and win a championship with this group.”