Eagles open training camp, several prospects impress coaches


WINDSOR, Colo. — With the regular season just around the corner, the Colorado Eagles are preparing their lineup. The team is doing well after the first day of training camp, making good passes and keeping the right amount of intensity.

In his first year as head coach, Aaron Schneekloth has taken over the Eagles’ camp and is ready to prepare his team for the upcoming season.

“Well, there’s a lot more emphasis on development, like in the ECHL, you’re trying to help players get to the American League,” Schneekloth said. “Your sole basis and focus down there is to, you know, win some hockey games and get some fans in the stands and help your ownership group that way, and up here, it’s a development league. Your priority is to help develop and prepare these young prospects and draft picks and free agents for the transition to the National Hockey League. So a lot more emphasis on individual skill development and, you know, hockey IQ and reads and trying to intertwine winning habits in a good culture with that.”

The standouts

Ondrej Pavel

Though injured and not having been reassigned to the Eagles, Ondrej Pavel has been working hard during the summer to ensure he can hit the ground running once healthy. He has missed the Colorado Avalanche camp and the first three games of the preseason.

For his appearance in training camp today, he looked healthy and was moving the puck well.

Pavel stayed in Colorado for the summer even though it was not required by the team, and the transition from college play to the AHL influenced his decision.

“It was a lot of work moving from college to Denver,” Pavel said. “And then I made the decision that the training facilities are much better here in Colorado instead of just like, for example, going home and trying to look for a gym or a place to skate. And obviously, I heard that, you know, some of the guys are sticking around over the summer. So I think it would be absolutely great getting on the ice with them and working out with them and just learning from them.”

Pavel’s dedication has not gone unnoticed by the coaching staff. Schneekloth only had positive things to say about Pavel, despite his injury.

“He’s a guy that is going to show up to the rink and compete every single day,” Schneekloth said. “It’s unfortunate that you know, he incurred an injury, kind of cut his camp short, but he’s here, he’s gonna work hard and get back to giving himself an opportunity to be shown to showcase himself and give him a chance to get in front of the Avalanche.”

By staying through the summer, he also received valuable feedback by the veteran Avalanche players. Samuel Girard and Kurtis MacDermid took Pavel under their wing to improve his play, and he took their advice. Andrew Cogliano also gave him pointers.

“I like that they were very open, like teaching me because you know, they could definitely take the stance of like, you know, who is this guy?” Pavel said. “Like, ‘He never played a game, like why is he here with us?” and they didn’t and they taught me a lot, so I’m really grateful for that.”

Moving into the Eagles’ camp after a summer of work, he returned to camp looking quick on the puck and playing on the second line.

Alex Beaucage

Despite wearing a red non-contact sweater, Alex Beaucage is showing significant improvement in his shoulder injury rehab.

His skating looked awkward, but his shots held the same strength as is often seen in games.

In the 2022–23 season, Beaucage was a valuable player on the penalty kill. Offensively, he collected eight goals and 12 assists in 63 games.

Riley Tufte

After being pulled up to the Avalanche roster against his old team, the Dallas Stars, Tufte made a name for himself. He was playing on the third line with Joel Kiviranta and Fredrik Olofsson.

Tufte had one goal and one assist against the Stars, impressing both the fans and the coaching staff in the preseason games as well as the Avalanche training camp.

Olofsson, Sam Malinski and Matthew Stienburg also impressed Schneekloth.

“Well, I think if you look at some of the kids that we signed last year, you know, Stienburg had a real good showing from rookie camp into main camp,” Schneekloth said. “Malinski is still up there playing, (Oskar) Olausson, Tufte, Olofsson you know, (Wyatt) Aamodt and (Nate) Clurman. They’re all still up with the big club right now trying to leave their mark, and play hard in the last few exhibition games if they get that opportunity. So I’m excited for those guys that they’re taking advantage of their training camp opportunity and we’d be happy to have them down here as well.”

What’s next?

The Eagles have two days left of training camp before opening up the regular season in Grand Rapids, Michigan, against the Griffins.

The Avalanche have preseason games on Tuesday and Thursday, and the lineup begins play on Oct. 11 against the Los Angeles Kings.

Full interviews

About Savvy Rafkin

Savvy is a recent Journalism and Media Communication graduate from Colorado State University. She spent most of her life playing softball and being surrounded by sports. As she entered college, she found her passion for sports writing and joined the Colorado State University Athletic Communications team. Later, she became a beat reporter for high school sports in northern Colorado.


Leave a Reply