The Kitchener Rangers kicked off their 50th season as a club by hitting the ice at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex for the first day of training camp on Wednesday.

The club will train and practice at the facility as the Kitchener Auditorium undergoes a $9.6 million renovation to add 1000 seats.

Ranger defenceman Ben Fanelli, who fractured his skull after a hit back in 2009, was out for 22 months before strapping the blades back on.

Fanelli, along with his team, will be spending a lot of time at the Rec Complex and he tells 570 News, the excitement is building for the season to start in a newly renovated Aud.

“I think it’s going to be a Christmas morning type feeling, when you know gifts are going to be there, but you don’t know what it’s going to look like and that’s what everyone on the team expects. I’ve heard from everyone, it’s going to be unbelievable.”

Along with some familiar faces, the team has added a few fresh faces to its roster.

The former captain of the Peterborough Petes, Matt Puempel, was traded to the Rangers in the off-season, and tells 570 News he’s excited to join the team at such a great time.

“I’m so excited to come to Kitchener and there is so much emphasis on the 50th season. Coach Spott said earlier its not about making the playoffs but winning championships, all the guys want that and that’s what I’m looking forward to achieving here and I’m looking forward to it.”

Another addition to the team is Kitchener’s first round pick in this year’s OHL draft is Matt Schmalz, who tells 570 News he is happy to join the club and help add to it’s history.

The Rangers will host Rouyn-Noranda in their first pre-season game on Friday at 7:30pm at the Rec Complex.

Kitchener’s first home game of the regular season is Friday, October 19th versus the Oshawa Generals.

CLICK HERE FOR TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE 

Casey.MacDonald@rci.rogers.com