Steve Harrison is from Canada, but the new coach of Toledo's entry in the ECHL is in a Missouri frame of mind.
He won't have to wait much longer to see what his new hockey team has to show. After five days of training camp, the Storm opens its two-game, pre-season schedule tonight with a 7:30 meeting against Dayton at the Sports Arena.
“I'm looking at it as an opportunity for the guys to show me that they want to be here,” Harrison said. “We're going to give the players a chance to see what they can do.”
The Storm likely will have to drop a forward or two back to the blue line to help out against the Bombers, who opened exhibition play on Wednesday with a 6-0 loss to Wheeling.
Toledo's National and American hockey league affiliations with Nashville and Milwaukee have yet to result in any players coming to the ECHL.
In fact, the Admirals open their AHL regular season tonight under ex-Storm coach Claude Noel utilizing three skaters who were part of Toledo's Brabham Cup championship squad last season: winger Alexandre Jacques, and defensemen Brandon Fleenor and Nathan Lutz.
“We're short right now, but there's some things in the works that will upgrade our hockey team,” Harrison said. “This'll be a good test to see what will happen if we get some call-ups or injuries during the regular season. We might as well test the lineup in pre-season before we start the games for real and find out that somebody can't play somewhere.”
Doug Teskey will start in goal tonight. Toledo's most valuable player last season said there's one thing that has been notable about the first week of practice.
“There's a lot of conditioning,” Teskey said. “I've been skating for about two months and there hasn't been a practice yet where I haven't left the ice winded. We've got great flow and the guys are really going hard.”
Toledo plays its final pre-season tilt Sunday in Cincinnati. The regular season opener is Oct. 17 against Johnstown at One Main Street.
“This is evaluation time,” Harrison said. “It's my job to evaluate Dayton and our 17 players that are going to dress to see how they fit into the mix, including power-play and penalty killing.