Carter Camper was in bed sick at his Cleveland home last Monday when he got the call that he had been traded to the Tucson Roadrunners.
Camper, a Cleveland native and pro hockey veteran, played 53 games with the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League. Camper figured he’d spend the rest of the season with his hometown team.
Camper is getting comfortable in Tucson, where he joins five new teammates who will make their home debut this weekend against the Texas Stars.
“Obviously Tucson is a first-place team and a great place to live,” Camper said. “It’s a pretty good spot to be.”
Camper and Pierre-Cedric Labrie are among the most experienced of the newcomers.
Labrie arrives with a decade of AHL and NHL experience, including two appearances in the AHL’s Calder Cup.
The Roadrunners also traded for Derek Army, Jordan Maletta, and Trevor Murphy.
“I’m still getting to know them but they seem like good dudes,” Roadrunners head coach Mike Van Ryn said. “Each guys brings a little something different. Welcome additions and they’ve done a good job for us so far.”
Tucson’s roster additions come just as the Roadrunners are making a push to go to the postseason for the first time in franchise history.
The Roadrunners sit atop the AHL’s Pacific Division standings, just above San Diego. This weekend’s opponent, the Stars, are currently occupying the fourth and final playoff seed of the division.
Tucson could add four crucial points this weekend by sweeping the Stars, a team it has already found success against earlier this year. The Roadrunners beat Texas twice on the road last month by scores of 5-2 and 2-1.
“I don’t really read into (previous games) at all because the past is the past,” Van Ryn said. “They played a real good game Wednesday night, and they’re a team that transitions quick with good team speed.”
Van Ryn’s biggest challenge right now is refocusing the team after the roster shuffles of the trade deadline.
Tucson is 1-2 since last Monday’s deadline.
“Roles change for guys, so there’s always some maintenance that goes involved with it,” Van Ryn said. “It’s just how quick can you get going again. We’ve got to get feeling comfortable again within our roles in understanding what they are and getting back to executing the way that we have to.”