Portland cancels preseason game against Seattle Thunderbirds because of player shortage | Western Hockey League

The Kent-based Seattle Thunderbirds scheduled Friday, Sept. 16 preseason game in Portland has been cancelled because so many Winterhawks players were invited to National Hockey League training camps.

Seattle's Marcel Noebels

Seattle's Marcel Noebels

The Kent-based Seattle Thunderbirds scheduled Friday, Sept. 16 preseason game in Portland has been cancelled because so many Winterhawks players were invited to National Hockey League training camps.

With 15 players off to training camps and another player recently injured, Portland called off the game, according to media releases Monday from the T-Birds and Winterhawks.

“Having 15 players away at NHL training camps is a testament to the talent we have on our team, and a pretty nice problem to have,” said Portland president Doug Piper.

Seattle had six players invited to camps. Players are eligible to return to WHL teams after attending NHL training camps.

The Winterhawks dressed only 16 players for last weekend’s preseason games and then lost one player to an injury and one player to a waiver claim by another team.

Portland won the Western Conference and the U.S. Division titles last year before losing to the Kootenay Ice in the WHL Finals.

The T-Birds play the Everett Silvertips in their final preseason game at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 at the ShoWare Center. They open the 2011-12 regular season against Portland at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24 at the ShoWare Center.

For tickets, go to www.seattlethunderbirds.com.

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