On October 5 the Huntington Center’s Aquarium played host to the second season ticket holder event of the year for the Walleye, the Training Camp Q&A Session! The entire training camp roster was available for Walleye Finatics to question about the upcoming season, as well as score autographs and photos with after the Q&A session concluded. Head Coach Watson and Strength/Conditioning Coach Dan Jones were also on hand for the event. Highlighted by the return of fan favorites such as Alden Hirschfield, Shane Berschbach, and Evan Rankin, the Q&A also saw the introduction of those trying to join the Walleye for the first time. One of these players stood out in particular: Andrew Gedert of Woodville Ohio. A graduate of Woodmore High School, the 22-year-old earned a spot in Training Camp after impressing the coaching staff during the Free Agent Camp in August. Over the course of a 30 minute session, fans were able to ask a wide variety of questions ranging from lighthearted joshing to serious concerns about the upcoming year. For many players trying to make the team this was their first media session with fans outside of college, so there was a bit of reluctance in the air when the session first started. You can get a sense of that when you watch the first couple minutes of the session down below. After a few minutes and questions the boys all started to loosen up, and by the end of it everyone was having a great time. You can find the entire Q&A session below, filmed in almost complete entirety by Jarrod Maneval.
Now a lot has happened since the start of Training Camp and the Q&A session with the roster. Most of the hopeful Walleye players were unable to make the team due to the return of players from AHL and NHL camps around the country. As of now, those players who began Training Camp with the Walleye but are no longer on the roster are:
Andy Chugg (D), Brad Denney (D), Drew Fielding (G), Sean Gammage (D), Andrew Gedert (G), Andy Huff (F), Paxton Leroux (F), Collin MacDonald (F), Myles McCauley (D), Evan Neugold (F), Adam Rufer (F), Andrew Tegeler (F), and Austin Wuthrich (F).
Fielding, Huff, and MacDonald are contracted players whom were put on waivers. Also, Austin Wuthrich was traded to the Kalamazoo Wings for future considerations. Of these releases four in particular stand out to me: Leroux, Fielding, Gedert, and Wuthrich. Leroux was an absolute monster in the only game I got to see him play on October 7th, he played his role of enforcer perfectly with two fights and absolutely destroyed both his opponents. With the return of so many skilled forward though, I understand and somewhat agree with his release. I have similar feelings about Fielding and Gedert. Toledo received Jake Paterson and Calvin Heeter (both goalies) from Grand Rapids, so they are the obvious choice over Fielding and Gedert due to success and experience. Fielding played a fantastic game on October 7th though, and Gedert was able to achieve his goal of playing for Toledo, even if it was only to close out the final 5 minutes of the game. I hope Gedert gets another shot at the Walleye net down the road, and Fielding definitely deserves a crease to call his own. Finally, I was surprised with the trading of Wuthrich. Wuthrich was a solid young forward fresh out of Notre Dame that was responsible for 28 points last season, not a bad first year of professional hockey. In this scenario it is crucial as a fan to trust the coach, we have a deep forward core and that future consideration might be able to nab us a key player prior to the playoffs. Best of luck to you Austin, and thank you for your commitment and effort last season. As for the Walleye, opening night is almost here! On Friday Toledo will take on the Atlanta Gladiators in both teams’ opener, and the Walleye home opener will be October 22nd against the Brampton Beasts. Let’s go Walleye!
All information about player transactions gathered from the ECHL Transactions Page and their Twitter feed:
Player information obtained from Toledo Walleye Roster Page:
Also from their profiles on Elite Hockey Prospects:
All photographs used were taken by Jarrod Maneval and are used with his permission.