By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
Reinforcements are on the way.
Well, sort of!
The Kamloops Blazers may well dress 15 skaters for their final WHL exhibition game when they meet the Cougars in Prince George on Friday.
Of those 15 skaters, six will be forwards, meaning that as many as three defencemen are likely to see duty up front.
The Blazers and Cougars were to have met Wednesday night at Interior Savings Centre. But the Blazers cancelled the game due to a shortage of players, what with eight players at NHL camps and four others injured.
Head coach Guy Charron indicated Wednesday that forward Dylan Willick should be back with the Blazers in time for Friday’s game. Willick, who is from Prince George although his family relocated to Kamloops over the summer, has been with the Minnesota Wild’s rookie team at a tournament in Traverse City, Mich.
Of the four injured players, only defenceman Landon Cross (groin) is likely to play. Cross, from Brandon, is one of three newcomers vying for a spot as the club’s seventh defenceman. Josh Connolly, 16, of Prince George and Tyler Bell, 17, of Regina also are in pursuit of that spot.
Forwards Ryan Hanes (charleyhorse), Logan McVeigh (concussion) and Chase Souto (headaches) won’t play. All three are listed as day-to-day.
The Blazers have added defencemen Jordan Thomson, 15, and Ryan Rehill, 16, to their roster for Friday’s game. Thomson, from Wawanesa, Man., was the fourth player chosen in the WHL’s 2011 bantam draft. Rehill, from Edmonton, was a sixth-round pick in 2010. Both players will rejoin their midget teams following the game in Prince George.
On Wednesday, the Blazers assigned forward Devin Oakes, 16, to the Pursuit of Excellence midget AAA prep team in Kelowna. He is to join that team in time to take part in a tournament in Minneapolis this weekend.
Oakes, a list player, had 24 points in 41 games with the PoE midget AAA team last season.
Including the players at NHL camps, as well as Thomson and Rehill, the Blazers are carrying 28 players — three goaltenders, 11 defencemen and 14 forwards.
The Blazers are scheduled to open the regular season at home on Sept. 24 with the Cougars providing the opposition. In fact, Kamloops will play its first four games at home.
JUST NOTES: Willick scored the Wild’s third goal Wednesday, as it beat the Dallas Stars 4-1 in the fifth-place game. . . . D Josh Caron, 20, also was on the Wild’s team. He signed with the Wild a year ago and is eligible to play in Minnesota’s organization. . . . D Austin Madaisky was with Columbus’s rookie team in Traverse City and is one of 19 defencemen on the Blue Jackets’ main training camp roster.
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