RALEIGH, N.C. – Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Bellemore has been very active and dropping a lot of sweat during on-ice sessions at Raleigh Center Ice over the past few weeks.
The 25-year-old played most of last season (67 games) with the team’s AHL affiliate in Charlotte, and led the Checkers in plus/minus (+12) and penalty minutes (85) before being called up by the Hurricanes in late March.
Bellemore made the most of drinking his large cup of coffee (8 games) with the team, earning his first fighting major against Patrice Cormier of the Winnipeg Jets in only his second career NHL game, and tallying his first point against the Montreal Canadiens just three games later.
“That little stint last year shows you what it takes to stay at this level,” Bellemore said.
“I loved the experience up here and hopefully I wanna’ stick around.”
Bellemore worked out in Windsor, Ontario throughout the summer, skating once a week and picked up the frequency to twice per week in July before returning to Raleigh to skate daily in August.
The 6-foot-4-inch defenseman is coming into camp at around 215 pounds and understands that he has to show not only his ability to move the puck and contain opposing players, but to mix it up when he needs to.
Bellemore said that he did a little bit of everything off the ice to prepare for training camp and that included adding boxing to his workout routine.
“It’s more of a training thing, but now I’m trying to apply it to my game,” Bellemore said.
“We worked on some grappling stuff too that would apply.”
Does that mean he’ll look to mix it up at camp if he needs too?
Who knows, but he’s focused on preparing himself to play the sort of game that he thinks the team needs in order to possibly fill a spot on the blue line, and one that he knows he’ll have to earn.
“It just goes to show you that nothing’s going to be given to you,” Bellemore said.
“You really have to come in, in shape, and work for a spot. There’s only a certain amount of spots and you’ve got a lot of guys comin’ in, so the competition’s gonna’ be there. You just gotta’ focus on your own game and what you’re doin’, and makin’ sure you’re doin’ everything you can (to make the team).”