The Kootenay Ice will now have three players at NHL development camps in the coming weeks, as Vince Loschiavo has been invited to attend the Dallas Stars at their camp in July.
Loschiavo, a 19-year-old top-line forward for the team, will join linemate Brett Davis — who was selected by the Stars in the sixth round of last weekend’s NHL Entry Draft — at the camp as an undrafted prospect.
“It’s very exciting, I’m just honoured to go to Dallas and enjoy my first experience at [a pro camp],” Loschiavo told the Townsman on Tuesday morning. “Anytime you get to go to an NHL camp, it’s a confidence booster and I’m just looking forward to making the most of the opportunity.”
In 68 games with the Ice last season, Loschiavo had 29 goals and 28 assists. Second only to Colton Kroeker in points, he was named the team’s Most Improved Player at their year end awards.
After being selected in the second round, 31st overall, by Kootenay at the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, the Winnipeg-native struggled in his first two WHL seasons. Loschiavo only put up 10 points in 61 games in his draft-year and was left off the board.
He exploded last season, however, while playing on a line with Zak Zborosky and Matt Alfaro, and continued to lead the team offensively after they were replaced by Davis and Kroeker in January.
Loschiavo knows that an NHL camp will be a big step up though.
“I think [the camp] is going to be pretty tough but it’ll be good and a lot of hard work will get done there,” he said. “I’m going to try to not be too nervous and just play the way that I’ve been playing and have some fun.”
He’s also thrilled to get to share the experience with Davis, a fellow Winnipeg-area player and a close teammate.
“When you know somebody you feel a bit more comfortable,” he said. “Brett [is] not only my teammate but also a guy that I’ve played with for a lot of years so I’m looking forward to it.”
Loschiavo said that he feels prepared to compete at a high-level and has been back skating since the beginning of June. He works out off the ice every day, as well.
Keeping a close eye back on his WHL city, he’s been very encouraged by the situation that he’ll be returning to in September which has experienced a significant management change since the end of last season.
“In Cranbrook there’s obviously been a lot of changes [and] so far [new owners] Matt [Cockell] and Greg [Fettes] and also [new coach] James [Patrick] are doing a really good job of turning this franchise around,” he said. “I’m super excited for the future of the Kootenay Ice.”
Loschiavo and Davis will depart for Dallas on July 6, while teammate Cale Fleury — who was drafted in the third round at the NHL Draft over the weekend — is set to leave for Montreal on Thursday for the Canadiens development camp.