Lawson O'Ray is returning to the Central Plains Capitals with a new outlook on the game. The defenceman spent last weekend at training camp with the Portland Winterhawks, and while he was too young to make the team, he says it was a great learning experience.

"It was overwhelming at the start, but I got used to it as things went along," O'Ray explains. "It was a long and hard camp, but it was fun."

The 2008 product is yet to celebrate his 15th birthday and was playing with players up to 20 years old; however, this wasn't his first time on the ice with older players.

"Over the summer, I skated with other 20-year-olds, just in Portage. They're fast, smart, and they know how to move the puck."

Surrounding himself with more experienced players at home and in Portland has taught O'Ray a lot.

"You have to work hard, no matter what. You have to be confident in your abilities, too."

O'Ray was proud of the effort he put forth and his first WHL camp. He says the coaching staff in Portland will be keeping a close eye on him this season.

"They made sure that I'm looking after myself. They want to see how I'll grow over the next couple of seasons, and they want to see me again."

The Portage product will play for the new Central Plains Capitals team this year, the U17 AAA squad. 

"I'm excited to see everyone and see how we'll do this season. I just want to keep getting better and expand on the tools I already have."

The U17 Capitals begin their tryouts on September 15.