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Avs' Development Camp Underway

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
A record number of players are participating in the Colorado Avalanche’s 2008 Development Camp this week at the Family Sports Center in Centennial, Colo.

A total of 29 Avalanche prospects hit the ice Friday to participate in on-ice instruction and drills. This year’s camp will also incorporate off-ice elements that should aid in the players’ development, including physical training and nutritional information sessions.

The skaters converging upon the Family Sports Center this week come from a variety of playing backgrounds, including the American Hockey League, NCAA, major junior and international ranks.

“This is a part of the organization’s commitment and efforts in developing our young players,” said Avalanche Vice President of Hockey Operations Craig Billington. “Building our young players into potential NHL skaters requires attention to details not only on the ice, but also in their training programs, their mental approach and their relationships with each other as teammates.”

The level of talent at this year’s camp is evidence of Colorado’s dedication to its emerging prospects and also showcases the organizational depth.

Three players participating in this week’s camp have experience at the NHL level. Forwards T.J. Hensick and David Jones each spent considerable time in the Avalanche’s lineup during the 2007-08 season, while defenseman Darcy Campbell saw action in one game with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2006-07.

“I’m excited to see what’s in store this week,” said Campbell, who finished last season with the Lake Erie Monsters following a trade with Columbus. “There are a lot of great players at this camp, and I’m looking forward to the entire week.”

Joining the aforementioned trio are over two dozen players with aspirations to one day set foot on NHL ice, including Colorado’s top picks in each of the past three NHL Entry Drafts – Chris Stewart (18th overall, 2006 Entry Draft), Kevin Shattenkirk (14th overall, 2007) and Cameron Gaunce (50th overall, 2008).

While many of the attendees at this year’s camp have appeared at Colorado’s rookie or development camps in the past, a handful will be enjoying their first sessions with the Avalanche’s staff. Boston University defenseman Colby Cohen – who was selected by the Avs in the second round of the 2007 Entry Draft – is included in the latter group. Although he is in somewhat unfamiliar territory, Cohen is eager to step onto the ice and see how he measures up against the rest of Colorado’s young prospects.

“It’ll be exciting to be on the ice, see the Avalanche logo and skate with some really great players,” said Cohen. “The testing is going to be interesting too. It should be pretty good to see how you stack up against all the other great players at this camp.”

In addition, the camp will be Avalanche fans’ first opportunity to see 2008 draftees Peter Delmas, Kelsey Tessier, Joel Chouinard and Gaunce in action following their selections by Colorado.

Fans are encouraged to attend the on-ice sessions during camp. Players will be on the ice most mornings from roughly 9:00-11:30 a.m. throughout the week and there is no cost to attend.

2008 Avalanche Development Camp Roster
   #  Player (Pos.)  How Acquired
 #51 Johan Alcen (RW) 2007 draft (195th overall)
 #38 Codey Burki (C) 2006 draft (59th overall)
 #49 Darcy Campbell (D) Acquired from Columbus, 2008
 #67 Trevor Cann (G) 2007 draft (49th overall)
 #53 Paul Carey (C) 2007 draft (135th overall)
 #45 Michael Carman (C) 2006 draft (81st overall)
 #72 Joel Chouinard (D) 2008 draft (167th overall)
 #46 Colby Cohen (D) 2007 draft (45th overall)
 #61 J.D. Corbin (LW) 2004 draft (249th overall)
 #70 Peter Delmas (G) 2008 draft (61st overall)
 #57 Rob Drummond (C) Signed as free agent, 2007
 #73 Cameron Gaunce (D) 2008 draft (50th overall)
 #71 Jens Hellgren (D) 2007 draft (155th overall)
 #37 T.J. Hensick (C) 2005 draft (88th overall)
 #54 David Jones (RW) 2003 draft (288th overall)
 #64 Ian Keserich (G) 2004 draft (215th overall)
 #47 Raymond Macias (D) 2005 draft (124th overall)
 #63 Mark McCutcheon (C) 2003 draft (146th overall)
 #50 Justin Mercier (C) 2005 draft (168th overall)
 #56 Kevin Montgomery (D) 2006 draft (110th overall)
 #62 Wes O'Neill (D) Signed as free agent, 2007
 #65 Kent Patterson (G) 2007 draft (113th overall)
 #41 Derek Peltier (D) 2004 draft (184th overall)
 #68 Billy Sauer (G) 2006 draft (201st overall)
 #36 Kevin Shattenkirk (D) 2007 draft (14th overall)
 #42 Chris Stewart (RW) 2006 draft (18th overall)
 #74 Kelsey Tessier (C) 2008 draft (110th overall)
 #58 Nigel Williams (D) 2006 draft (51st overall)
 #59 Brandon Yip (RW) 2004 draft (239th overall)
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