The puck (finally) drops again as the Stockton Heat visit the Bakersfield Condors for an afternoon tilt to open both team’s preseason play! While the Heat visit their CA-99 rival today, both teams will head to Stockton tomorrow to complete their preseason schedule with a 5:00 p.m. start at Stockton Arena.
The Heat have 36 players on the training camp roster, meaning that Heat Head Coach Cail MacLean, his staff and of course Heat GM (and Flames Assistant GM) Brad Pascall will have to determine the players they need to see more of. With a few players coming down from Calgary in the coming days, Stockton is looking to not only round out their roster with some depth, but also see who’s hungry for spots. Of the 36 players on the roster right now, the team has 16 NHL contracted players, three AHL contracted players, three AHL/ECHL contracted players and 14 tryout players.
IT’S PARTY TIME TOMORROW AT STOCKTON ARENA
That’s right, hockey is back at Stockton Arena for the Heat’s preseason game against the Bakersfield Condors tomorrow! Puck drops at 5:00 p.m. but that doesn’t mean you can’t come early and enjoy the fun!
Doors and the Bud Light Cold Zone will open at 2:00 p.m. for fans to enjoy a number of activities, including broomball on the ice, live music from Mattea Overstreet and a Q&A in the Club with SMG staff answering questions from fans regarding changes in arena.
Plus you can try out some of the new concessions from Burgess Brothers and Bella Vista along with food on the Puck Drop Party Deck from the Nacho Cart, Dippin Dots, Totally Nuts and Savor Corner.
After the game, stay for a Meet and Greet with the players at tables lined up along the concourse to get autographs, say hi, and take pictures!
Tickets to the preseason game are just $10, but all Full-Season Heat365 Members received two tickets per Membership and Half and Quarter-Season Heat365 Members receive one ticket per Membership. Full-Season Members can pick up their Membership Packets in the Bud Light Cold Zone starting at 2:00 p.m.
All tickets to the Heat’s home preseason game are general admission.
Be reminded of SMG Stockton’s new security standards which begin tomorrow:
Beginning on September 30, 2018, SMG Stockton will be implementing a new security standard at the Stockton Arena. All guests attending an event will be searched and wanded before entry to the Arena as we migrate into Walk Thru Metal Detectors. This new security standard has been implemented for the safety of all guests.
Due to new security standards, SMG Stockton strongly encourages all guests to plan on arriving early and we thank you for you patronage as we work to ensure a safe event environment. For any questions regarding this new policy, please call 209-373-1400.
As a reminder, large bags/purses must be 14” x 14” x 6” or smaller and backpacks and duffle bags are prohibited in the facility. Please visit StocktonLive.com for a detailed list of prohibited items.
LAST TIME VS. BAKERSFIELD
The last time these teams met was back on March 3 of last season in a Condors victory over the Heat, but in all actuality, a lot has changed for these teams over the last few months. On their current roster, the Condors only return a handful of players familiar to Heat fans including Mitch Callahan, Braden Christoffer, Josh Currie, Joe Gambardella, David Gust, Keegan Lowe, Brad Malone, Evan Polei, Patrick Russell and Ryan Stanton.
With so many new faces on the Edmonton Oilers farm team, they’ll want to make a good impression on new Condors Head Coach Jay Woodcroft, just as the new faces on the Heat will want to leave a lasting impression on the Heat’s new bench boss, Cail MacLean.
WHO TO WATCH
There’s no telling who the Heat will be dressing tonight with so many players at the team’s disposal, but on the road, expect the team to be on the younger side with many newcomers and tryout players looking to make an impact and force the coaches hand to put them into the second preseason game on Sunday in Stockton.
So we’re going to go with someone who has something to prove in a familiar face to Heat fans with Justin Auger. Auger, you may recall, was a member of the Ontario Reign for the last three seasons and even won a Calder Cup with the Manchester Monarchs the year before the Pacific Division was formed. Within the LA Kings organization, Auger amassed 264 games 54 goals and 110 points, and has had some big goals against the Heat in the last three seasons.
He received his first taste of NHL action last year, suiting up for the Kings in two games, but ultimately wasn’t resigned by the team making him a free agent. Auger attended Flames camp as a tryout and is now trying to stick with the Heat and needs a good showing tonight with the expected young squad to prove himself to the Heat staff. Look for the former Reign power forward to heat it up!
I’M GLAD I CALLED THAT GUY
Realistically, every preseason on every team across the hockey world has the theme of opportunity. For Mike McMurtry of the Stockton Heat, that opportunity started last year through injuries and call-ups that took its toll on the Heat roster and gave him more minutes and more opportunity.
Boy did he seize it.
In his last eight games for the Heat, as the team was battling for a playoff spot, McMurtry scored 3 goals and added 6 assists and truly earned his AHL contract for this season when he resigned with the Heat. The key for McMurtry, who was an ECHL All-Star last season is to stick with the Heat, and while he proved what he could do last season, he’ll have to prove it all over again with an expected deep team in Stockton.
But this time around is different, because Stockton coaches, and the fans, took notice of that opportunity he had at the end of the season. Look for number 7 to continue that effort during the preseason!
Of the 36 players on the roster only eight players played playoff hockey last season including forwards Jack Nevins (Idaho – ECHL), Yasin Ehliz (Nürnberg – DEL), Justin Auger (Ontario – AHL), Buddy Robinson (Manitoba – AHL), Darian Dziurzynski (Indy – ECHL), Glenn Gawdin (Swift Current – WHL) and Matthew Phillips (Victoria – WHL) along with defensemen Cliff Watson (Colorado – ECHL) and Philip Samuelsson (Charlotte – AHL).
The most prolific playoff appearances? Glenn Gawdin who won a WHL Championship with the Swift Current Broncos and participated in the Memorial Cup along with Cliff Watson, who helped the ECHL version of the Colorado Eagles take one final Kelly Cup before flying into the AHL.