By Scott Linesburgh
The Stockton Record
Adam Huxley (pictured) tried to describe how he felt when he put on an Edmonton Oilers uniform and skated on to the ice at Rexall Place in front of a cheering hometown crowd.
“Really, what do you say?” Huxley asked. “It’s an awesome experience and not something I would have thought would have happened a few months ago.”
Huxley, the Stockton Thunder enforcer whose has impressed Oilers officials as a free-agent invitee to their training camp, played in the team’s preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. And he’s not the only player with Thunder ties who saw action in the Oilers’ first two exhibition games.
Goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who played with the Thunder last season, got the win in overtime against Toronto on Tuesday, and forward Tim Sestito, who was also on the 2006-07 team, scored the winning goal against Florida on Monday.
Sestito and Dubnyk, a first-round pick for the Oilers in 2004, have contracts, but Huxley is trying to earn his way into the organization and had to make the most of his chance when he was put on the game roster.He played seven shifts, was one the ice for 6 minutes, 13 seconds, and had one shot. He said he’s not sure if he’ll get into another preseason contest.
“I don’t know what they plan to do, but I just want to compete and try to stay in camp as long as possible,” Huxley said.
That’s the goal of all the young players in training camp, and Thunder coach Chris Cichocki has enjoyed following his current and former protégés as they try to advance. Stockton also has five players – forwards Jesse Bennefield, Andy Contois and Brandon Schwartz, defenseman Ryan Geris and goalie Cam Ellsworth – scheduled to attend camp with the Springfield (Mass.) Falcons of the American Hockey League.
“It is exciting for me as a coach because although you miss these guys if they move up, that’s what the ECHL is about,” Cichocki said. “It’s always been a balance between trying to win at this level and developing talent. So to see a guy like Adam get his chance to show an NHL team what he can do is great.”