For those of you that came out to last Friday’s home preseason game against the Bakersfield Condors, you got to see a lot of the new players in action and were introduced to the Calgary Flames style of play that is trickling down to Stockton.
However, there were a couple familiar faces in the lineup that night that made a significant impact in the outcome of the game.
Goaltender Kent Simpson was one such face.
Simpson spent the majority of his 2014-15 season playing in Stockton with the Thunder in the ECHL before signing this summer with the AHL’s Stockton Heat.
“Organizationally speaking, Calgary is the place everybody wants to be,” Simpson said. “They do things well from top to bottom and that was a big lure for me.”
During his time with Stockton last year, Simpson was a bright light on a Thunder team that struggled at times to string together positive games, but Simpson helped keep the team in games when he got the starts.
“Last year I felt like I was just fighting tooth and nail and never could gain any traction,” Simpson explained. “I was always on the move or battling somewhere, so I’m glad I could come in here with a fresh start.”
A fresh start indeed, as Simpson has looked good in camp thus far and is battling for a job here in Stockton with Jon Gillies and Eric Hartzell.
All three have looked solid, hence why the coaching staff still has all three on the roster.
It seems to be a theme throughout the Calgary organization, seeing as the Flames currently have three goaltenders on their roster as well. But the proverbial logjam in net for the Flames hasn’t discouraged Simpson at all.
In fact, it’s motivation.
“You never what can happen with those three in Calgary,” Simpson said. “All I can do is play my game and prove that I belong in this organization.”
As far as being back in Stockton is concerned, Simpson couldn’t be happier. The main reason for that happiness – the new facilities here at Stockton Arena.
“When I heard they were upgrading the room, I knew I wanted to be here,” Simpson exclaimed. “It’s unreal. Night and day from last year and definitely a top notch facility now.”
His happiness may not be shared by his parents, though, being that he is an Edmonton boy now signed to the Calgary Flames farm system.
“My dad wasn’t all that thrilled,” Simpson said with a laugh. “He said he’d root for me personally, but couldn’t root for the Flames.”
Hopefully Simpson’s play in between the pipes can turn his folks into Heat fans, and maybe we can grab them a ‘C of Red’ t-shirt if their boy gets the call to Calgary.