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Nov 08, 2012 - 14:27 EST



Rob Benneian and Kenton Wolfe, The Converged Citizen

The NHL lockout may be, at least temporarily, costing them the chance to live their dream. But while all that works itself out, a host of former Spitfires are honing their skills in the American Hockey League.

Two members of the 2010 Memorial Cup squad, Zack Kassian and Scott Timmins, hooked up Oct. 27 at AllState Arena in Rosemont, Illinois in a clash between the Chicago Wolves and San Antonio Rampage.

In his second pro season, Kassian has been leading the way for the Wolves. His four goals and five points through eight games were team highs, as the Wolves occupied first place in the Midwest Division. 

“He’s got to play that heavy game. He’s got to be a threat every time he touches the puck,” said Wolves head coach Scott Arniel. “He’s got to use his size and forchecking, and using his body in front of the net. When he’s doing that he’s real noticeable. He has real good touch and real good hands. Combine those and he is a strong power forward in this league.”

It was Kassian’s former bench boss, current Spits coach Bob Boughner who taught him how to act like a pro.

“Words don’t describe how (Boughner) helped me,” Kassian said. “He’s a player’s coach. He can talk to you, tell you life experiences. He played the game for so many years at a high level so he knows what it takes to get there and he knows what it takes to stay there.”

Timmins, a sixth round choice of the Florida Panthers in 2009, is in his third season with the Rampage. He registered 27 points in 70 games a year ago, establishing career highs in goals, assists, penalty minutes and plus-minus. 

“(The Spitfires) run it like a pro team,” said Timmins. “They make the transition easy coming into pro like that. They treat you well when you deserve and leave you really prepared. Everyone knows there are some real big names coming out of that club.”

Both Timmins and Kassian said they valued their time in Windsor and consider it a privilege to have played alongside some of the great young stars in today’s game.