KEENAN LIVING OUT CHILDHOOD DREAM AT AMERKS TRAINING CAMPOct 6, 2022
By Suzie Cool
One of the many things about training camp is that it creates opportunity. An opportunity to get acclimated to the playing systems of the organization, an opportunity to get adjusted to the pro game. In this case of Rochester native Conlan Keenan, it’s an opportunity to showcase his skillset while also fulfilling a lifelong childhood dream of wearing the red, white and blue.
“It's just been a great learning experience, you know? It's a great opportunity to kind of show my stuff and get to play in my hometown,” stated Keenan when asked what his first week at Rochester Americans Training Camp has been like so far.
Keenan is among 10 camp invitees on the Amerks’ 32-man training camp roster and he’s embarking on his third pro year looking to make the jump to the American Hockey League after spending his first two seasons with Tulsa and Toledo of the ECHL. Wouldn’t it be serendipitous if it just so happened to be with the team Keenan grew up watching?
“It's always been a dream,” explained Keenan when asked if he ever envisioned playing for the Amerks. “Coming here as a kid and watching all the players go on to play for the Sabres, guys like Ryan Miller and so many others. It was a childhood dream and now it's reality. It’s pretty cool.”
The camp invitee is no stranger to playing hockey in the Rochester area.
Keenan is a Webster native who dominated at the collegiate level while playing four years for SUNY-Geneseo that included two seasons as team captain. In 110 career games for the Knights, he posted 172 points on 86 goals and 88 assists. Keenan was named the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Conference Player of the Year as a senior in 2019-20 when he picked up 50 points on 22 goals and 28 assists, which was third-most in NCAA III that season.
Additionally, Keenan helped lead the Knights to back-to-back SUNYAC Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the NCAA Frozen Four in 2019.
For the last two years Keenan has spent time in the ECHL to begin his professional career.
In 2020-21 the forward played with the Tulsa Oilers, competing in 28 games and tallying nine points. Last year, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound forward scored 13 goals and added 20 assists for 33 points while being the only member of the Toledo Walleye to appear in all 72 regular-season games last season. Keenan finished the 2021-22 season with a plus-16 and was honored by the ECHL as the league’s Plus Performer for January after leading all ECHL skaters with a +13 on-ice rating during the month.
Keenan then went on to skate in 10 games for the Walleye during the Kelly Cup playoffs, notching a pair of assists. However, just because his team was in the playoffs doesn’t mean he didn’t keep an eye on the Amerks who made it to the third round of the Calder Cup playoffs for the first time in 17 years.
“I obviously followed along, I’m from Rochester,” joked Keenan when asked if he followed the Amerks during their postseason run in 2021-22. “It was really cool to see that, see them (Amerks) beat Utica and go on to the third round. Seeing the town come together and pack the building was really cool to follow.”
While this week is a dream come true for the local kid at camp, Keenan is trying to soak in every little bit of the opportunity that he can.
Keenan finished with, “It's a lot of information to take in, but it's a very neat experience.”
As we inch closer to Amerks Opening Night on Oct. 14, the days of Training Camp in the Flower City are dwindling down. Here is the remainder of this week’s schedule for Amerks 2022 Training Camp as follows (time is subject to change:
Friday, Oct. 7
Practice at 11 a.m. – Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex
Saturday, Oct. 8
Morning skate at 10:20 a.m. – Blue Cross Arena
Preseason Game at Syracuse at 5 p.m. – Upstate Medical University Arena
Sunday, Oct. 9
Preseason Game vs. Utica at 5 p.m. – Blue Cross Arena
Rochester opens its 67th American Hockey League season – and 41st as the primary affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres – on Friday, Oct. 14 at The Blue Cross Arena against the Toronto Marlies. Amerks Season Ticket Memberships for the 2022-23 season are on sale now. Season Ticket Memberships start as low as $15 per game and come with a number of Members-only perks and benefits. Full Season, Half Season and Quarter Season Membership options are all available. For more information on Amerks Season Tickets or to sign up today, visit www.amerks.com/memberships.