The Vancouver Giants kicked off their 2022 training camp on Thursday, Sept. 1st, 2022. This WHL season will feature players born between the years 2002 and 2007. While the roster battles will be happening mostly between the players born from 2022-2005, the 2006/2007 class put on a show Thursday morning.

Led by Matthew Hutchison, Colton Roberts and Justin Ivanusec, here are some notes from their practice.

Chloe Primerano

One standout from the 2006/2007 session was Chloe Primerano. After being drafted in the 13th round of the 2022 WHL Bantam Draft, she became the first-ever female to be drafted in a CHL draft. She did not look out of place as her strong defensive work and passing were on full display Thursday. One person who she really impressed was GM Barclay Parneta.

“I spoke to her before, and obviously, she did say she was nervous, but every 15-year-old is nervous,” Parneta said. “She certainly did not show it on the ice today. Obviously, I am not specifically watching for Chloe. I’m watching for players who do good things and stand out, and she drew my attention a number of times for that reason.”

Primerano can’t join the Giants full-time until next year, but Parneta is hopeful she continues her strong development this coming season.

“The hope for Chloe is that she takes something away (from training camp). She was recognized for competing in the best Bantam league in Canada and excelling at it. Where it goes from here, no one knows. No one has seen this before. It will really depend on him she can compete against 18, 19 and 20-year-old players. We just hope she can learn from this and grow as a player.”

As mentioned, Primerano’s play was strong on Thursday, and Parneta took notice. Her defensive play was what really stood out to him.

“The biggest thing was her ability to poke pucks off sticks and her ability to get into the battle and to the net. She isn’t shying away. She is getting body positioning and battling hard.”

Primerano Enjoying Camp

As for Primerano, she spoke to the media as well and gave some insight into her first skate with the team and the overall process.

“I felt a bit nervous. (I) played my game and just worked as hard as I could. Everyone was super nice and positive.”

Primerano mentioned that her favourite player was Duncan Keith. Luckily for her, his longtime teammates and multi-Stanley Cup Champion Brent Seabrook was on the ice helping her. He joined the organization last season and will once again help the team this coming season.

“He’s such a great player too. He played with Duncan Keith for so long. They are both really great players. (I learned) mostly just not dusting the puck off and keeping your head up to make the simple play.”

She also confirmed that this coming season, she would be playing for RINK Hockey Academy Kelowna U18 female team coached by Kris Hogg. Based on her play today, she showed that she belongs and could very well be wearing a WHL jersey in the next couple of years.

Matthew Hutchison

One of, if not the best players on the ice was goaltender Matthew Hutchison. This is his first training camp after being drafted in the Bantam Draft back in December. “Hutch,” as he is referred to around the organization, is ready to fight for his spot on the team.

“I think it’s going to be a fun year,” said Hutchison post-practice. ” Looking forward to getting further into camp and just see how things are going to be rolling. I think the team is going to be put together pretty well, and it’s going to be exciting.”

Hutchison talked about getting to play last season with the Giants and how that will help push him this season.

“It’s huge getting that experience. At 15 years old, it was unmatched. Being able to get that experience at a young age and being able to carry it into my first camp, it means the world to me. It makes everything feel a lot more calm. I sort of have a feel for how things are run, which should help me through camp.”

In charge of Vancouver’s goaltenders is Paul Fricker. Hutchison has been able to work with the long-time WHL goaltender coach which should help his transition to the Giants.

“It was great working with him a bit last year, and I got to do a couple of sessions with him during the summer. He’s been really good and giving lots of advice. Not just on the technical side but how to deal with things mentally and how to get through everything. He’s been really great.”

It is rare that a goaltender looks so calm and composed during their first WHL training camp. Hutchison has the potential to be a starter in this league and is already on his way after a strong first day of training camp.

Colton Roberts and Justin Ivanusec

The two other players that stood out today were Colton Roberts and Justin Ivanusec. Both played games for the Giants last season and will be looking for spots on the opening night roster.

GM Parneta on Colton Roberts:

“Colton obviously stands out as an exceptionally large player. He moves extremely well and just carries himself like a veteran already. He has a lot to learn still, but just his presence out there and leadership qualities without really even doing anything really stood out. If you watch him play in an exhibition or regular season game, you certainly aren’t going to look at him as a 16-year-old. If you didn’t know his age, you would probably think he was 18.”

As for Ivanusec, he was one of the strongest forwards on the ice. Whether it was passing, his shot or his ability to drive the net, he looks ready to claim a roster spot this coming season.

The Giants continue their training camp through the weekend. This includes skill training, scrimmages and, of course, the Quinn versus Howe game Sunday morning. Keep your eyes peeled to the WHL on Area 51 as we bring you continuous coverage of the Giants and the entire WHL.

By Adam Kierszenblat

Covering the Vancouver Giants for the Area 51 Sports Network

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