The New York Rangers made a smart choice when they drafted Keegan Iverson in this years NHL Draft. The 220 lb center who currently plays for the WHL Portland Winterhawks was selected in the third round. On Wednesday August 20th, Winterhawks training camp began and included a series of scrimmage games called the Neely Cup. Over the course of four days, almost 80 boys suited up and played six elimination style games which consisted of two 30 minute games and a final 60 minute game. This major minor team is filled with 15-20 year olds that treat these games as a way to prove themselves as hockey players.
Click here to watch a video interview Keegan Iverson did with Comcast Sportsnet during the training camp.
The Neely Cup is open to Winterhawks fans to get a glimpse at the potential prospects to the team. I attended the four-day event excited to report on how the Rangers newest prospect is doing since the draft. Keegan Iverson arrived ready to play the minute he hit the ice for his teams first game. He opened the scoring in under two minutes of the games start and later scored again sealing his teams 4-2 win with an empty net goal. Iverson’s intense drive to get to the puck and control it is to be admired. The 18-year-old presents himself with such mature confidence and strength that it appears effortless as he wards off an opponent. Although he faced boys smaller and younger than him, I strongly feel he will have no problem stepping into the role as a powerful force as a New York Ranger.
“I’m a power forward who can also score and put points in the box” – Keegan Iverson
Keegan Iverson scored his teams only goal by the end of day three. This left his team in last place with a standing of 1-4-1. In the second half of the final game he scored one more goal but they ultimately ended in a 3-2 loss. During these games I was able to really focus on Keegan Iverson and what he will bring to the Rangers. What stands out the most is he truly has it all, speed, drive, puck control and the ability to score. He is a big boy who won’t take being pushed around either. He is currently the total package and we can only hope he will continue to improve.
Keegan Iverson is looking forward to the new season with the Portland Winterhawks and stepping into a bigger role now that some of the older boys have moved on. He was invited to play for team USA at the World Juniors. As stated in the above video, he is planning on using the experience as a learning tool and bring that education back with him to his team.
On the last day of the Neely Cup we were able to get pictures and autographs with the players. I teased Keegan Iverson about how he appears grumpy with his serious facial expressions. I told him I needed a picture of him smiling which he immediately obliged and teased back. He actually has a silly side to him and we found out he is quite the dancer too. I am so excited to have him as a prospect, he is exactly the kind of player the New York Rangers need.