The Seattle Thunderbirds are looking to lift the Ed Chynoweth Cup for a second straight season, but they will be doing so with a new look roster. One of the additions the squad has made going into the 2023-24 season is bringing in Carberry's own Luke Robson.
The 19-year-old forward spent last season with the Edmonton Oil Kings and put up five points during his rookie campaign. Robson has one word to describe the Thunderbirds training camp.
"It's been passionate," Robson continues. "The team won the championship last year, but they are still hungry for more and want to compete this year. We had a lot of guys battling for spots, wanting to win, wanting to score and show off their talents. We had a very competitive training camp, and we're looking forward to what is coming up here."
The team is just two days away from their season opener against the Wenatchee Wild, and Robson is extremely eager to get going.
"I'm so excited, after the season with Edmonton and having it cut short (The Oil Kings missed the playoffs in the 2022-23 season.) It's been a long summer. It was an angry summer for me. I want to succeed and do well. So, I'm excited to be back on the ice, and I'm very excited to see what I can do on the ice with this new group of guys."
With a bitter taste left in his mouth entering the offseason, Robson says he really honed in on his craft.
"I would say the biggest improvement is my confidence. I skate with a lot of pro guys during the summer, and I learned a lot. They keep the puck on their stick, and they know when to make the right plays. Even just watching them, I learn so much," Robson explains. "They play with confidence and aren't afraid to make a move against a guy to see if you can beat him or not. So, I'd say my overall confidence is better, and I've built some strength over the summer."
Portage's own Lynden McCallum has been a mentor, according to Robson.
"He's been a real influence on my hockey game. His dad is the one who runs our skates. He played in the ECHL for the last two years," says Robson. "He's been in the same scenario as me when he was with the Brandon Wheat Kings. He says, 'Put your head down and grind. There will be light at the end of the tunnel.' So, I'm just going to keep on working and I think good things will come."
Robson says Seattle will have a solid amount of returning players from the 2023 championship-winning team and notes they may bring back even more after NHL training camps have wrapped up. He outlines the benefits of being around guys who know what it takes to win.
"They're going to show me the way, and I'll follow their lead. I'm going to try and give input where I can, but I'm also going to let them lead. Those guys know what it takes."
The forward knows he won't start the season on the top line, but he's just focused on being a team player.
"I would just love to win. Winning is fun, and having an atmosphere where you're happy and excited to come to the rink every day is huge," Robson explains. "Personally, I want to get better as a player. I want to master my role on the team."
Robson and the Thunderbirds will play their season opener on Saturday, September 23.
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