Lamb ready for first pro season
ABBOTSFORD, BC -- Every time blueliner Brady Lamb glanced up in the stands last week, his eyes drifted to the cluster of bodies sitting 20 rows from the ice.
Jay Feaster, John Weisbrod and the Flames coaching staff were mainstays at the Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre throughout the Abbotsford Heat training camp, keeping a close eye on the proceedings and evaluating prospects throughout the week.
"I don't know if I'd say it's nervousness. It's more excitement," Lamb said of having the Flames brass in attendance. "You probably wouldn't have expected them to be out here in Abbotsford watching necessarily but for the most part, most of the (players) would have been at Flames camp so they would have been watching either way.
"Looking at it from that standpoint, it doesn't really change a whole. I just have to come out here and show what I can do."
Lamb is entering his first professional season after spending the last four years at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. In his senior year, he recorded a career-high 31 points (nine goals, 22 assists) through 41 games and helped take the Bulldogs to the NCAA elite eight.
Known for his nose-to-the-grindstone, workhorse attitude and physical play, the Flames felt Lamb would fit in well within the organization and signed him to a one-year, two-way deal on Mar. 29.
"He has good vision, a hard shot from the point that he gets through traffic, makes quick decisions with the puck, and makes a good first pass," Feaster said after the deal was announced. "He has consistently demonstrated strong leadership abilities, and he is a hard-nosed competitor. His work ethic and the way in which he competes have been his calling card throughout his career. We are pleased to welcome him to our organization."
After earning his first professional contract, he headed to Abbotsford to spend time with the Heat and get a taste of the AHL. While he mainly spent time practicing with the Black Aces, he did suit up for one game and was able to get a clear idea of what he needed to work on in the off-season to prepare for the rigors of a full professional season.
"I got a small feel for it. It was a little bit different style so I had to work on that throughout the summer and it's also a little bit quicker."
Lamb's stint in Abbotsford in the spring also allowed him to get accustomed to head coach Troy Ward and the methods he employees. Ward is known for being a great communicator and finding a way to relate to all of his players on a personal level. The time Ward and his coaching staff take to understand each player immediately stood out to Lamb.
"They show such attention to detail, both on and off the ice. You see a lot of coaches that put their heart and soul into hockey but there's not many out there that care about your off-ice and family life as much as Troy Ward does.
"For him to show that type of compassion and understanding when it comes to family needs and life away from hockey, it's important and really good to see."
That familiarity from last season has him feeling confident about the 2012-13 season, which kicks off on Friday against the Peoria Rivermen in Abbotsford.
"I'm really looking forward to this year. I'm ready to go."