Beau Starrett Heads to Rookie Camp for the Edmonton Oilers
Sep 30, 2019 06:00AM
● By Pamela Johnson
written by Eric Onkenhout, Bulletin Sportswriter
As the 2019-20 NHL season nears, young players around the league head into rookie camp striving to impress. One such player is Bellingham’s own Beau Starrett. Over the summer, the 24-year-old signed a minor league contract with the Bakersfield Condors, the AHL (American Hockey League) affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers. Starrett, who recently started rookie camp in Edmonton, is grateful for the opportunity to live out his life-long dream of playing for a professional hockey club.
The Bellingham native is not afraid of hard work and knows that a strong effort is sometimes all it takes. “I want to impress the management staff,” Starrett said, “and first impressions are huge. I want to go in and play my game and turn some heads, just overall impress them with my talent and what I can do.”
Just as for most athletes, the off-season is never really “off” season for Starrett. He knows that it takes dedication and professionalism to stay in shape once the season finishes. “This summer I’ve been training in Foxboro; they have good facilities for skating and working out.” Starrett continued, “I’ve been working on my conditioning and my skating aspect on the ice. That’s what I want to improve on this off-season. I’ve been dialing that in and focused on that the last three months.”
Each first-year player wants to demonstrate his own specific set of skills that could set him apart from others. For Starrett, his success at face-offs at Cornell University helped his team gain an advantage during certain gameplay situations. “It’s something I’ve always been good at—bearing down on the opponent’s center. Having that skill can help fulfill a role. It’s a crucial part of the game, especially on power plays and penalty kills.”
Winning face-offs is only one aspect of Starrett’s game. “I describe myself as a two-way power forward, someone who can contribute offensively, but also shut down other teams’ top lines defensively.” Not many players are willing to get down low in front of an opponent’s goalie, but Starrett knows that his stature makes him ideal for getting into the dirty areas. “Part of being 6’6” is presenting yourself in the slot and the crease, causing havoc,” he says.
Coaches know that size isn’t a teachable skill. They will see Starrett as a player who can gain body position on the puck and protect it down low in the corners. Starrett says, “I’m 6’6” and a lot of coaches and management look at that as something special. You have to work with what you have.”
Earlier this summer Beau Starrett’s brother, Shane, who plays goalie, also signed a one-year contract extension with Bakersfield. “It’s pretty rare to get a brother combo, but we had played together in high school, and it’ll be great for our parents not to have to stream one game and attend the other as they did when I was in college,” Beau said. He also said that playing with his brother was a big reason why he chose Bakersfield.
As of the time of the initial interview, Starrett was not sure which number he’ll have, and he isn’t sure that rookies have a choice, but he says he’s been #10 since his high school days at Catholic Memorial. Choosiness doesn’t seem to be Starrett’s MO when it comes to uniform numbers or position. “I prefer to play center, but wherever there’s need I’ll play,” he says.
On August 25 Starrett flew with his brother to Edmonton for rookie camp, which started September 5. “I’ll be working with the skating coach while my brother will work with the goaltending coach,” he said. “My brother took part in rookie camp last year, so he won’t need to do that this time.”
The Bakersfield Condors went on a 20-game winning streak last January into February. Coach Jay Woodcroft and the Condors finished 1st in the Pacific Division but lost in the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs.
Going into rookie camp, Starrett says he’s “healthy and excited” and is working on getting invited to the main camp. He’s taking it one day at a time. Starrett sees playing for Bakersfield as a new chapter and a fresh start in his journey to reach the next level in his hockey career.
In a follow-up phone interview at Bulletin deadline, Starrett said, “Camp is going great,” and “it’s a learning experience.” And, by the way, he did receive his number—22.