Former Minto Pauls reflect on LA Kings Development camp, upcoming WHL season

Photo by Erica Perreaux/@perreauxphoto Lethbridge Hurricanes defenseman Chase Pauls handles the puck during WHL action at the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge during the 2022-23 WHL season.

It’s already been an eventful summer for former Prince Albert Minto defenseman Chase Pauls.

The Osler, Sask. product made a trip to Southern California last month to partake in the Los Angeles Kings Development Camp at the Toyota Sports Performance Center in El Segundo, California.

Pauls says he is taking a lot of new knowledge and experience from the camp into his final WHL season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

“That was a great experience for me. There’s a lot of good players to be around, so obviously it brings out the best in me too. The coaches were great. I learned a lot from them. I have a lot to bring back with me to Junior for the upcoming season when I go back in the fall here.”

Thirty-four players were invited to the development camp including LA’s 2021 first round pick Brandt Clarke.

Other WHL players that attended include Calgary Hitmen forward Sean Tschigerl, Prince George Cougars forward Koehn Ziemmer and Red Deer Rebels defenseman Hunter Mayo.

Pauls, who stands in at six-foot-four and 224 pounds, says he came away from the development camp wanting to focus on improving his mobility.

“You can work at everything to get better. For me personally, I’ve always wanted to improve my skating, so I’ve really tried to focus on that this summer and improve on that. I think that’ll take me to the next level, I like how my game has been in all the other areas. I’m just looking for that deal breaker.”

In 66 games last season with the Hurricanes, Pauls posted seven goals, 13 assists and 65 penalty minutes as Lethbridge finished fifth in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 36-26-3-3.

For the second consecutive season, Lethbridge was swept in the first round of the WHL playoffs, falling to the Moose Jaw Warriors. In 2022, the Hurricanes were swept by the eventual WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings.

Despite the lack of recent playoff success in the Windy City, Pauls says the Hurricanes are a better hockey club than their recent playoff performances have shown.

“Last year we had a tremendous year as a team and unfortunately, we just couldn’t put things together in the playoffs. But going into this year, I think a lot of the boys will have that chip on their shoulder and want to win playoff games this year.”

With the upcoming 2023-24 WHL season to be his last in the league, Pauls says he wants to leave behind a positive legacy in the Hurricane dressing room.

“I want to be known as a guy that was a leader who worked hard and did the right things. I want to help out the younger guys too, because when I was a young guy, it was nice having all the guys you could lean on and talk to. I just want to help all my teammates succeed too and that’s probably the biggest thing for me.”

At the time of publishing, Lethbridge currently has five 2003-born players on their roster, including Pauls.