Former Kelowna Rockets' captain Josh Gorges was skating at Prospera Place this week in preparation for his first training camp with the NHL's Buffalo Sabres.

Gorges excited for ‘new chapter’ with Sabres

Former Kelowna Rockets defenceman prepares for first NHL season in Buffalo after being traded by Montreal earlier this summer.

Looking down at his chest and seeing a buffalo and two sabres instead of the world-famous logo of the Montreal Canadiens will admittedly take a little getting used to.

Still, with the shock of this summer’s trade having long since worn off, Josh Gorges insists he’s excited and ready to move on with the next phase of his NHL career.

Between management, coaching staff and players already in place in Buffalo, the former Kelowna Rockets’ captain said there are multiple reasons to be optimistic about his new job with the Sabres.

“There are a lot of great guys in Buffalo, I know a few of the players already, and I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter and a new challenge along with them,” Gorges, 30, told the Capital News Wednesday, before practising with a group of pros at Prospera Place.

“I’ve had good conversations with management, ownership, training staff, all those types of people and what’s getting me excited to play is that they’re all great people. And that’s what you want to be involved in, working with people that want to do the right thing.”

The trade that sent the Kelowna native from the Canadiens to the Sabres July 1 for a second-round draft pick in 2016 caught many off guard, no one more than Gorges himself.

During his seven-plus seasons in Montreal, Gorges went through thick and thin with the Habs and didn’t feel like his entire story with the Canadiens’ had quite been completed.

Then again, as Gorges knows, the realities of the hockey business often take precedence over personal goals.

“You never expect to be traded but you always know that there’s a chance,” said Gorges, who played 521 regular season and playoff games with the Canadiens. “You hope it never does happen to you, especially when you’re in the right situation like I was in Montreal.

“It was shocking because of the things that were going on there were great, the team was succeeding, we had a great playoff run,” he continued. “And when you start something like I did in Montreal, you want to see it through to the end…and that end is winning the cup with a team you’ve been a part of for so many years. But we understand it’s part of the business, you move on and make the best of it. Now I’ll go to Buffalo and do everything I can to help that team be successful.”

As much he treasures the successes and memories on the ice while in Montreal, Gorges said it’s largely the people he’s leaving behind that’s most regrettable.

Longtime Canadiens’ teammate and close friend Carey Price is one of many people on the Habs’ Gorges will miss.

For the Montreal goaltender, the feeling is clearly mutual.

“(Josh) has been one of my closest friends and one of the key players on the team since I arrived there,” Price told the Capital News. “He has leader-type qualities that every team looks for. Obviously it’s a big loss for us, but we’ve got to move on and we wish him the best of luck in Buffalo.

“I’ve seen a lot of good guys come and go in eight years and it never gets any easier,” added Price. “This one is probably the hardest because our wives are best friends, too.

“Like I said, it is a reality of the hockey business.”

And while Gorges is ready, willing and excited to move on, he said he’ll always value the seven-plus seasons he spent in the hockey-mad market of Montreal.

“Montreal is always going to be a special place for me,” said Gorges, whose wife gave birth to their first child the summer. “I never really got my chance to be a player until I came to Montreal. A lot of ups, a lot of downs, a lot of experiences there…I loved my time there. It will always be a special place no matter what happens.”

In the end, though—particularly when it comes to hockey—Gorges assures he’ll be looking solely ahead to Buffalo; not back to Montreal.

“We’re a young team, a team with a lot of upside, a lot of potential,” he said of the Sabres.

“Once we make that work, put the work boots on and play as a team, I think we have a lot of potential. I’m excited about it.”

Gorges left Thursday for Montreal to pick up the remainder of his personal belongings, before heading to Buffalo for the start of Sabres’ training camp on Sept. 11.

 

 

 

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Lake Country couple to be recognized with heritage award

James, Anita Baker will receive the Central Okanagan Heritage Society’s Distinguished Service Award

Flipped car snarls Kelowna rush hour traffic

North-bound traffic on Highway 97 backed up Monday afternoon

Suspect in West Kelowna home break-ins apprehended

Police say 31-year-old West Kelowna man is in custody and is also wanted on Canada-wide warrants

UPDATE: Kelowna snowboarder being mourned at Big White

He was a local snowboarder, who went to Rutland high school.

Hope raises thousands for two Kelowna charities

The event Hope in Her Eyes managed to raise more than $17,000 for two Kelowna non-profits

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

NDP Health Minister calls to offer woman seat on Interior Health Board

Joyce Beddow-Buckland of Ashcroft was surprised by the call, and accepted the offer.

No decision yet from Sagmoen bail hearing

Provincial court judge is expected to decide next week if Silver Creek man to remain in custody

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Vagina Monologues hits the Kelowna stage this week

Okanagan production set to target a hot topic: vaginas

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

Most Read