It's been a while, but hockey players donning Kitchener Rangers colours are on the ice at The Aud this week.
The Rangers are hosting rookie development camp this week, something that's been a long time coming for players and coaches alike.
"It felt great, to be honest, especially after the year off with COVID and my first time skating here," said Rangers 2020 first round pick Andrew Leblanc, "It was really nice to see the rink and see all the guys and get things started."
Head coach and general manager Mike McKenzie said it almost felt surreal at times to be back.
"I said to one of the guys on the ice 'it feels like we're kind of in a dream right now, and someone's going to come wake us up and it's all going to be for naught,'" he said.
There are 33 players taking part this week, before main camp gets underway on Friday.
Players like Andrew, as well as his twin brother Jacob Leblanc (2020 third round pick).
"We had that extra year, so we're coming in, there's obviously high expectations," Jacob said, "I'm just trying to come in, I've prepared myself the past year and just expect to come in and be the best I can and fit in well."
Another dynamic player impressing on the first day was 2021 first rounder Carson Rehkopf.
Rehkopf was excited to get things going in Kitchener, and feels good about the team heading into the 2021-22 season.
"I think it's going to be really good," he said, "And I'm really excited to see what I can do, and any way I can help the team win."