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Hard work, bonding highlight annual prospect camp

Monday, 07.12.2010 / 3:03 PM ET / News
By Kevin Kurz  - philadelphiaflyers.com
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Hard work, bonding highlight annual prospect camp
(Voorhees, NJ) – There is a common theme that emerges from the Flyers’ annual prospect camp every year: it’s demanding.

On-ice practice time and scrimmages are combined with off-ice workouts, sprints, weights and even a triathlon. Also included are classroom type activities with psychologists and nutritionists. It’s all in the name of teaching the younger players what they need to do to make it as a professional hockey player, and the kind of dedication it takes in all aspects of life.

Michael Chaput was drafted in the third round of this year’s draft and got his first taste of life as a Flyer this week, and that is the biggest thing he is taking away from his experience as camp concluded on Monday.
Flyers prospects scrimmage at the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone during the annual prospect camp on July 12, 2010. (Flyers Photos)

“You see the guys at the NHL level, and they are good at everything,” said Chaput. “They pass hard, skate hard, are physical, are big and strong, and you just have to work on everything.”

Mike Testwuide, 23, is among the elder statesmen among the prospects in terms of age. This was the fourth such camp in his career, but first with the Flyers after he was signed as a free agent out of Colorado College in March.

This is the toughest one he has ever attended.

“This was a step above those camps, in a sense of conditioning, hard work and what they expect of you,” said Testwuide. “Everything they teach you and all of the aspects they bring in, like nutrition, a psychologist, the mental part of your game, your skating, your shooting…every part of your game is tested.”

“It was hard work, but they treat us fairly,” added Zac Rinaldo, who concluded his second prospect camp and is a good bet to make his pro debut with the Adirondack Phantoms this season. “At the end of it we come out with a good experience and in better shape.”

While the training exercises are obviously important, the camp also offers the players a chance to get to know one another a little better off of the ice. Along with the annual “Trial on the Isle” in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, in which the players compete in a mini-triathlon and softball game, the guys got a chance to see a bit of the city of Philadelphia and even went to the Phillies game last Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Eric Wellwood, also expected to challenge for a roster spot with the Phantoms this season, said:

“Everybody is going through the same thing, so guys get to talk their problems out instead of keep them to yourself. I think that’s a great opportunity to learn the problems that other guys might be having like you, and work through them together.”

“Meeting new people is good for you, and I hope to be a part of this organization for a long time,” added Chaput. “Maybe some of the guys in here will end up being teammates of mine for a long time in the future, so it’s important to meet everyone.”

Some of the prospects will return for a second prospect camp the week before training camp in September, which is geared a little bit more towards hockey. Others will not.

Regardless, every prospect that attended this week’s camp now has a routine that they are to follow for the remaining summer weeks to stay in shape, as well as a better idea of what it takes to be successful for the future – both in the short term and the long term.

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