CALGARY, AB -- As Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley walked out of the coaching staff office to address the media, the first thing everyone noticed was the smile that didn't seem to leave his face for the duration of his availability.
"We were not told when the first day on the ice is or where camp will open or when will be our first game. But obviously, on our part, there is lots of excitement.
"For us, we've spent so many days since September in the office getting ready that we're just excited. This is a great day for us today."
While a new CBA hasn't been ratified, having the framework for one in place has Hartley and the rest of the coaching staff working feverishly to prepare for training camp. While they had schedules ready in September, they have altered them to get the most out of what will likely be a very short camp.
"It's the same rules for the 30 teams," he said. "We're not going to look for negatives or excuses. It's going to be a short camp for everyone. It's up to us to have a plan. We have one.
"We have plans right now from a four-day camp all the way to a 10-day camp. I probably know it won't be a 10-day camp but we are ready for (one). Once we have all the details, we're going to get ready for it. We will be ready."
While the primary objective of training camp - which will likely have approximately 30 players in attendance - is to solidify a roster, Hartley will also be using the time to get players up to speed on systems and team expectations in case they are recalled during the year.
"We will need some call-ups so we want to make sure that we get ready for this spring ... we'll make sure that we have some players in Abbotsford ready to come and help us too, if we need them."
Over the last four months, Hartley has been integrating himself into the Calgary community through work with several charitable organizations and at team functions. He has witnessed how passionate Calgarians are about hockey and is committed to putting a competitive squad on the ice.
"This is a very proud hockey community. The one positive I had since September is that I was able to go in the community. Whether it was for luncheons, coaches clinics or minor hockey practices. There is no doubt in my mind that this city loves the Flames.
"I want to make a promise: as soon as we get on the ice, we're going to be a hard-working team and we want to make our fans very proud of their team."
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