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Appleby preparing for a season full of unknowns

'It has been very different but I mean in times like this just like everyone else you have to adapt and find different ways to go about life'

It's been a unique off-season for Ken Appleby. 

Like all of us, the 25-year-old goaltender has been trying to adapt to this strange pandemic world. 

With no ice arenas open in the North Bay area, Appleby has gotten creative with his training by exchanging his goalie skates for steel-toed boots or inline skates.   

"It has been very different but I mean in times like this just like everyone else you have to adapt and find different ways to go about life," said Appleby. 

He has been training with his longtime local goalie instructor Todd Robillard in a local gym sporting all his normal goalie gear. It's something to help him get by when hockey begins again.  

"This is our way of adapting I guess in a sense," explained Appleby.  

"It isn't really much and it is not the same as being on the ice but you are still seeing shots, you are still getting a feel for the puck and that is all I really wanted."

Appleby has been taking shots during this unique dryland training from the likes of longtime local professional Matt Marquardt and OHLers Payton Vescio and Jake Gravelle.   

"It keeps you activated when it comes to tracking the puck and physically, absolutely it keeps you sharp," said Appleby.  

"Obviously there will be an adjustment when we do get back on the ice. It will be a little bit different but for the time being this is as good as it can really get in terms of seeing pucks and seeing shots. When it comes to the mental side, you just have to know you have to take it for what it is. It is not the same but it is what it is for now but it is just nice to see pucks and see shots and get that work in."

Appleby is coming off a one-year AHL contract with the Milwaukee Admirals; the affiliate team of the Nashville Predators.   

He played 42 games last year with the ECHL's Florida Everblades, the farm squad for the Admirals.  While he would have been thrilled to get the call to join the Predators in this unique summer training camp, he knew the chances of getting the call were remote.  

"I was not really expecting to get the call, I'm not disappointed at all," said Appleby. 

"I knew the two guys I assumed they were going to invite who are both on NHL deals so for them to bring me there I think they would have had to sign me or upgrade my contract to an NHL deal so it would not have really made sense so I'm not really disappointed and I understood the situation."

With the solid numbers in the ECHL, Appleby is hopeful he gets another deal with Milwaukee when hockey commences.  

"Everyone is kind of coming in with a different situation when it comes to contracts right now or negotiations with Milwaukee," explained Appleby.

"Some teams don't know what is going to happen next year. Everything was positive in the year-end meetings, they said they were very happy with me and they would love to have me back so hopefully something gets figured out in the near future but not trying to look to far ahead, I am just trying to focus on what I can do for now for the next season when it does come then hopefully I am a little bit more prepared than I would have been if I was not doing any of this."  

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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