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WHL US Division: Tri-City Americans preparing for training camp

Summer time isn't just time off for WHL players. It's a season to get ready for the season. What have the Tri-City Americans been up to since it got warm outside?

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The season draws near.
The season draws near.
Marissa Baecker/Getty Images

With the summer months winding down, the beginning of another exciting WHL season draws closer.

But management and players from the Tri-City Americans are already hard at work preparing for the start of training camp in late August.

Members from each U.S. Division club spent their summers at various NHL development camps, World Junior camps and other evaluation camps. The Americans had a handful of players/prospects attending these camps, here is a roundup of where they were and how they did.

Brandon Carlo, a second-round pick of the Boston Bruins in June's NHL Draft, drew lots of praise from Bruins GM Don Sweeney after attending the club's development camp. Sweeney told of the 6-5, 200 pound blue-liner: "Right away you know how much area and territory he can defend. He's got athleticism in his skating ability, shoots the puck really hard. I was impressed with Brandon during the World Juniors because (Team USA) gave him a role and he did a really good job.

"He went out and shut down, made his first pass and identified. That first pass execution piece will be very important for him, but he's a guy that covers a lot of ice. We're really excited about Brandon."

Carlo was joined a few weeks later by goaltender and teammate Evan Sarthou at the U.S. National Junior Development Camp in Lake Placid, NY. Both players were on Team White and fared well through the week of play. Carlo played for team USA at last year's tournament and is a virtual lock to make the squad again this year. Carlo regularly displayed his long reach and ability to keep forwards in front of him and has one assist thus far.

Sarthou played in parts of three games early in the camp and impressed coaches enough to make the cut when the roster was trimmed from 39 to 32 on Tuesday. He stopped 31-of-35 shots in that span and looked more comfortable in net each time out. The camp extends through the week providing Sarthou a few more opportunities to impress head coach Ron Wilson.

Prospect notes: 2014 bantam draft picks Michael Rasmussen and Kyle Olson participated in Hockey Canada's U-17 summer showcase. Rasmussen's Team White captured first and Olson's Team Blue finished third. Also, 2015 bantam picks Seth Bafaro and Keltie Jeri-Leon were named to the shortlist for Team BC U16. The Americans also signed 2014 third-round bantam pick Brett Leason to a standard WHL player agreement.

On the trade front, the Americans traded the WHL rights to defenseman Brandon Hickey to the Red Deer Rebels for a 2016 fifth-round bantam draft pick and two conditional bantam draft picks. A Leduc, Alberta native, Hickey played last season as a freshman for the prestigious Boston University Terriers. Hickey had six goals and 11 assists, and scored in the Terriers' NCAA Tournament semi-final win over North Dakota.

Many expect Hickey to return for his sophomore season at BU. However, the opportunity to play close to home and an automatic berth to the Memorial Cup - Red Deer will host the event in 2016 - may encourage Hickey to sign with the Flames and play for the Rebels.

Finally, Okanagan Hockey Academy announced Wednesday that Americans co-owner and former NHLer Stu Barnes will join the staff as a skills coach. Barnes played for the Americans in the late 80s and his jersey still hangs in the Toyota Center. He became a co-owner of the club in 2004. He will assist the OHA Penticton squad this season.

Training camp begins for the Americans in late August before the club hosts its annual preseason tournament over Labor Day weekend. Another preseason tournament in Everett precedes a pair of preseason games against arch rival Spokane. The Americans and Chiefs open the regular season in Spokane September 26.