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WHL US Division: Spokane Chiefs end training camp with scrimmage

The Spokane Chiefs concluded their training camp with their annual Red-White scrimmage, which White won 8-1 on the strength of two Kailer Yamamoto goals.

Getting started.
Getting started.
Marissa Baecker/Getty Images

If you believe in superstition, anytime the Chiefs wear their white sweaters, they'll dominate, right?

Team White ran Team Red off the ice with an 8-1 win in the annual Red-White scrimmage, which signaled the end of camp. The Chiefs will now embark on their preseason schedule. Having not been at the game, it's hard to say who stood out.

But in reading reports from the game, the main notable to come from the game was Kailer Yamamoto's two goals. After a stellar rookie year, the younger Yamamoto is poised for a breakout year, and he's not even eligible for the NHL draft until 2017.

The Spokesman-Review reported that Jaret Anderson-Dolan - the Chiefs top 16-year-old prospect - impressed his teammates. JAD, as they call him, had a cup of coffee for five regular season games and one playoff game last season as a 15-year-old with the Chiefs.

Ty Smith, the first overall Bantam Draft selection this year, also impressed. Smith won't be fully eligible until next season.

So from here until opening night, the team will play the typical preseason games, evaluate certain players, and eventually figure out an opening night roster. It's generally the same each year.

This year, however, the big decision won't necessarily be who makes the final roster, but which 20-year-old the team will part ways with.

Heading into the season, the four 20-year-olds are:

  • Adam Helewka, last year's leading scorer

  • Jason Fram, the team's top defenseman and last year's captain

  • Garret Hughson, the team's starting goaltender

  • Riley Wittingham, a grinder, fan-favorite and team-guy

The team had seven 20-year-olds but three of them recently moved on.

Needless the say, getting down to the CHL-mandated three 20-year-olds will be difficult.

Do they put their faith in a new goaltender? Trade their top scorer for a younger skater with high potential?

Helewka will attend the San Jose Shark's fall camp, but the odds of him making the team don't seem to be high right now. Same goes for Fram, who will be at camp with the Calgary Flames as an undrafted guy. If I had to guess, all four 20-year-olds will be back by October.

The Chiefs have until Oct. 15 to narrow the list down to three 20-year-olds.

The team will be in Everett over the Labor Day weekend for preseason games. The Chiefs host the Tri-City Americans on Sept. 19 in a preseason game at the Spokane Arena.