This week’s edition of Anaheim Ducks News & Rumors covers the addition of former Duck Luca Sbisa to the Ducks’ development staff. There’s also news about Ducks training camp, which takes place this week, along with an update on the vaccination status of the Ducks’ players and staff.
Sbisa Joins Ducks Development Staff
During the Ducks’ Rookie Faceoff broadcast against the Colorado Avalanche, Ducks play-by-play commentator Steve Carroll revealed that he was able to speak with Sbisa, who was at Ice Den Scottsdale, and that the former defenseman had been added to the Ducks’ development staff. Ducks general manager Bob Murray was the one who initially reached out about interest in a position with the team.
Sbisa spent five seasons with the Ducks before being shipped off to Vancouver in the deal that brought back Ryan Kesler. He retired this offseason after getting in just one game at the NHL level during the 2020-21 season, with the Nashville Predators.
He is not the first former Duck to return to Anaheim as a staff member. Former players Todd Marchant and Francois Beauchemin are currently employed by the Ducks while former goaltender Guy Hebert is currently an associate host for the Ducks on Bally Sports West.
Ducks Announce Open Training Camp, 60 Players Attending
The Ducks have previously announced Fly Together Weekend, which takes place this Saturday and Sunday and includes an open practice and intrasquad scrimmage that is open to the public (a $5 donation is suggested).
But now the Ducks have also announced two open training camp sessions for fans to attend on both Thursday (today) and Friday mornings of this week. Thursday’s session will begin at 9:30 AM while Friday’s season will start at 10 AM. All attendees will be required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status unless actively eating or drinking. All sessions will be held at Great Park Ice in Irvine, and will last until approximately 1 PM.
The Ducks will have 60 players in attendance, the majority of whom arrived earlier this month and participated in development camp and rookie camp, as well as the Rookie Faceoff Tournament in Arizona. Some familiar faces such as Ryan Getzlaf, Adam Henrique and Cam Fowler will be participating in training camp, and a majority, if not all of the returning players from last season’s team, will also be there.
One of the more notable items is that the Ducks will have six goaltenders in attendance. Lukas Dostal and Olle Eriksson Ek did not take part in any of the rookie formalities that occurred earlier this month as Ducks personnel wanted to give Roman Durny and 2021 draft pick Gage Alexander an extended look.
It’s worth noting that Dostal has been taking part in informal skates with some of the Ducks’ veterans at Great Park Ice. It’s unlikely that he unseats Anthony Stolarz as the backup to begin the season, but he would be the next man up if Stolarz or John Gibson suffer an injury.
Entire Ducks Players and Staff Fully Vaccinated
On Tuesday, Ducks writer Eric Stephens posted on The Athletic’s real-time updates page that the entire Ducks staff and all of their players are now fully vaccinated. This comes ahead of a season where the NHL is requiring vaccinations for all players and hockey operations staff, though there are limited exceptions for positions like valet parking attendants.
The NHL is the first league out of the four major North American sports (basketball, football, baseball, hockey) to mandate vaccinations, although Major League Baseball is requiring any players participating in the Arizona Fall League to be vaccinated (from, ‘Sources: MLB to require vaccinations to participate in Arizona Fall League’, Arizona Republic, 09/20/21). This suggests that a vaccination mandate could be coming for MLB players ahead of next season in 2022.
The NHL did a fine job with its bubble environment during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but there were plenty of hitches this past season, most notably the widespread breakout among the Vancouver Canucks which almost caused their season to be cut short.
Requiring all of the players and hockey personnel to be vaccinated should cut down on widespread cases like what happened to the Canucks.
The beginning of training camp means that the regular season is just around the corner. I, for one, am ecstatic that fans will be back at Honda Center in a much larger capacity than last season, and I’m looking forward to heading out to at least several games this season. With the regular season comes more news and rumors so keep your eyes peeled for more frequent updates moving forward.