Callum Booth likely worked up an appetite as the oldest Kraken rookie camp attendee on a pro contract, tending the net alongside an emergency backup goalie Monday and Tuesday at Kraken Community Iceplex.
“It’s an extra two skates to get my nose in there and show what I’m made of,” Booth said. “It’s a great opportunity.”
The journeyman goaltender is grateful for this travel-heavy job. Hotel living either means stocking up on instant noodles or letting someone else do the cooking. He’s leaned into the latter and has a list of favorites ready to recommend. The dining guide is about to extend to the West Coast, where his busy career hasn’t taken him before.
He’s paid some hockey dues and sampled the local fare, playing for eight teams in five professional seasons — 17 at the American Hockey League (AHL) level, one tier below the NHL, and 81 another tier down in the ECHL. He also spent time on the Boston Bruins’ taxi squad in 2021.
Like many of the 18-year-olds in rookie camp, he hasn’t made an NHL debut. The 6-foot-4, 194-pound Booth, 25, signed a one-year contract with the Coachella Valley Firebirds, newly formed AHL affiliate of the Kraken, this summer.
“Over the years, you just try to work your hardest whether it’s in practice or in games,” Booth said. “Hopefully someone here or there likes the look of you and gives you a shot.
“It’s a new franchise. Everyone’s excited. I’m just ready to have some fun.”
The culinary offerings of his native Montreal are hard to beat, of course. Charlotte, North Carolina, where Booth played parts of three seasons with the Checkers (AHL), is another favorite. He spent most of last season with the Maine Mariners (ECHL) and enjoyed the “amazing foodie town” of Portland.
In his travels, Booth, met some of the Kraken top brass. He was drafted in the fourth round, 93rd overall, in 2015 by the Carolina Hurricanes when Ron Francis was the general manager. He also knows about 10 players from the Carolina and Boston organizations.
“It’s nice to see some familiar faces around the room, with people that I played with or against in the past,” Booth said.
Next up is the full-team Kraken training camp, which begins Thursday before Seattle’s first preseason game Monday. Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, California, will then fill with Kraken prospects honing skills and veterans listening for a call-up. Same goes for the Kansas City Mavericks, the Kraken’s ECHL affiliate starting this season.
The Firebirds front office is working on filling out a roster for the upcoming inaugural season. In addition to Booth, Coachella Valley will soon announce AHL deals for David Cotton, 25, who took part in rookie camp, along with minor-league veterans Eddie Wittchow, 29, and Jimmy Schuldt, 27. The latter two are on the Kraken training-camp roster.
There are already five goaltenders in the organization. Philipp Grubauer and Martin Jones make up the top tandem with Chris Driedger recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL. He’s expected to miss most of the season. Joey Daccord and Magnus Hellberg are both under contract for another year.
Booth handled much of the work Monday and Tuesday, stopping shots from first-round picks Matty Beniers and Shane Wright and a dozen others. He shelved his Bruins mask in favor of a plain white one. A new, palm tree-heavy Firebirds one is arriving soon.
There’s plenty to see and sample ahead.
“Hopefully I can stay here a while,” Booth said.