Andrew Cimburek – Silvertips staff writer
The entire U.S. Division and two B.C. Division teams (Vancouver, Victoria) get competition for the 2016-17 season underway at the 2016 Holiday Inn Preseason Classic, a September tradition in downtown Everett.
At first glance, the Silvertips will see the Seattle Thunderbirds to stoke a rivalry soaked in Pacific Northwest hockey culture and bragging rights between the towns of Everett and Kent. But even though Snohomish County is five months removed from the last heated battle in the postseason, and exhibition points have a shelf life of three weeks, for the purpose of preseason is to gauge internal fit for each roster in a competitive environment.
So it’s time for Silvertips fans gaze their eyes on fascinating returners and fresh faces.
Two fresh faces, Import pick Eetu Tuulola (Calgary Flames draft selection as well in 2016), and Silvertips first round selection Ethan Browne slowed down after getting off the ice at Thursday practice.
ANDREW CIMBUREK: Ethan how are your feelings on the first few practices this week?
ETHAN BROWNE: I had a little bit of nerves going into them. They got better as it went on.
AC: Are you excited to be here in Everett?
EB: Oh yeah, really excited. It’s a great city, a great hockey town.
AC: What are your initial impressions on Everett, the Pacific Northwest, and just the area?
EB: Oh it’s amazing. Everything I see is just amazing.
AC: Have you got to see a lot yet?
EB: Yeah I went to a Mariners game. We lost. That’s the team this season, up and down. There are a lot of good things to check out.
AC: What are you most excited to check out when you’re here?
EB: I just like the rink, just coming to the rink every day is amazing. There are tons of seats. It’s crazy here.
AC: Are you excited for this weekend?
EB: Yeah. It’s going to be fun.
ANDREW CIMBUREK: How are your feelings on the first couple days of practice?
ET: It feels good. I think I’m ready to play tomorrow if they set a place up. I’ll wait, tomorrow is coming.
AC: Was it fine getting to Everett and getting accustomed to the team?
ET: Everything was good. Everybody was friendly to me, and taking good care of me from the team.
AC: What are your expectations for the game this weekend?
ET: I love games, lot of physical play of course. I don’t know, I don’t really know how this league plays so far, but we see that at the end of this season.
AC: What do you think of the rink? How is the quality compared to what you are used to?
ET: This is maybe a little bit better than what we have in Finland. So, good. Good space in here, and everything feels good. I enjoy my time.
A look below at last season’s performance from all teams:
Place finished: 5th in Western Conference, reached second round of the WHL Playoffs
Top Goaltender: Carter Hart (0.918%)
Key returner: Noah Juulsen (1st rounder, Montreal, 2015)
Place finished: 7th in Western Conference, lost in first round
Top Goal Scorer: Dominic Turgeon (36 goals)
Top Goaltender: Adin Hill (0.917%)
Place finished: 3rd in Western Conference, lost in WHL Championship
Top Goal Scorer: Mathew Barzal (27 goals)
Top Goaltender: Landon Bow (0.923%)
Place finished: 8th in Western conference, lost in first round
Top Goal Scorer: Kailer Yamamoto (19 goals)
Top Goaltender: Tyson Verhelst (0.894%)
Place finished: 9th in Western Conference, missed playoffs
Top Goal Scorer: Parker Bowles (39 goals)
Top Goaltender: Nicholas Sanders (0.901%)
Place finished: 10th in Western Conference, missed playoffs
Top Goal Scorer: Chase Lang (27 goals)
Top Goaltender: Ryan Kubic (0.898%)
Place finished: 1st in Western Conference*, reached second round
Top Goal Scorer: Alex Forsberg (31 goals)
Top Goaltender: Griffen Outhouse (0.937%)
* Captured Scotty Munro Trophy for top WHL record
Gillian Saunders contributed to this story.