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View from the Ice: Hinostroza blogs Prospect Camp

by Vincent Hinostroza / Chicago Blackhawks

Throughout this week's Prospect Camp, Chicago-area native and 2012 Blackhawks draft pick Vincent Hinostroza shared his thoughts about his experiences in camp for

Day 1

I had an early start to my day today – I was on a bus at 6:30 a.m. heading to the United Center. But no matter how early it was, it was the easiest wake-up call I’ve ever had.

Today was my first day of prospect camp with the Blackhawks, the team I’ve followed and been a fan of for my entire life. I couldn't have been more excited to head over to the United Center, to be inside the team’s locker room and to begin the next step in my hockey career. It wasn’t hard to wake up at all – I was ready to go.

The first part of my day was fitness testing. Most of it wasn’t too bad, except for the Wingate test. It was pretty terrible – I actually got a little sick to my stomach afterwards. I ran right to the bathroom after the test was over, but I felt great after that.

[Editor's note: For more on the dreaded Wingate test, click here to watch BHTV's feature on prospect camp fitness testing.]

The United Center and Johnny’s IceHouse are only about 45 minutes from my home. Over the course of this week, my parents, grandma, and other family and friends are all planning on making the trip over to Johnny’s. I'm excited to get on the ice and work on my game, and hopefully show what kind of player I am.

This afternoon, we were told that they wanted to evaluate our games today; we went through a bunch of stations and drills – some of them were one-on-one and battling types of drills, others were stickhandling and skating. It was fun.

My roommate for the week is [Blackhawks 2012 first-round draft pick] Teuvo Teravainen. It’s nice to be sharing a room with someone who I know a little bit – we share the same agent, so we had met before coming to Chicago. It was pretty easy knowing I was going to spend the week with him.

Tonight, all of the prospects are going out to dinner, and I think it will be a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to getting to know everyone a little better.

All in all, I just want to learn all that I can and become a better player this week.

Day 2

Day two at prospect camp – at least on the ice – was mostly the same as day one. The on-ice stuff was great again. It was all competition drills: one-on-ones, two-on-twos. We’re all coming out trying to get better, which is the point of the camp. It’s great to play with so many skilled guys.

After my off-ice workout, we’re going back to the team bus and back to the hotel. I’m not sure what we’re going to do after that.

Yesterday after camp, I had plans to go out shopping with some of the other guys, and walk with them through the city, but it didn’t happen… My bed was just too comfortable after the long day. I wound up going to sleep.

It’s great to see everyone in camp getting to know each other; it’s a lot easier to come out here when you know everyone, and you start seeing familiar faces. Everyone talks to each other, and greets each other when they see them. Yesterday, there were a lot of guys who I took drills with that I didn’t know, and now we’re mostly on a first-name basis. It’s pretty cool to see.

Teuvo Teravainen and I are hanging out, since he’s my roommate for the week. I knew the Broadhursts too – as other Chicago kids, we all played for [Chicago Mission AAA Hockey Director] Anders Sorensen before and we all skated together in the summer. But otherwise, everyone is getting to know people better and making friends.

It is a competitive camp, but there is a strong sense of teamwork as well. We’re all part of the same organization, and we share the same goal. We all want to get noticed, but we think of each other as teammates.

At the end of the day, we’re all Blackhawks.

Day 3

Day three of Prospect Camp was different in a good way. It was the first day of scrimmages, which gave us another opportunity to show what we can do.

My team started the day with on-ice training, very similar to what we had done the past two days. It was a hard practice – we came back to our locker room pretty gassed, and then we had to go out and play the scrimmage not much later.

Between the practice and the game, everyone was pumping themselves up in the locker room. It’s the first scrimmage, and we wanted to make a good impression. Even though we were tired, we came out and battled. All of the guys on the team came together today, and we came away with the win. We played our best team game.

Playing in the scrimmage was a little different experience. The coaches didn’t give us too much direction from the bench; they tell us if we’re doing something wrong, but we’re not really playing a system. We’re here to showcase ourselves, and they’re here to evaluate us based on what we can do.

It’s actually fun to compete with them – we have the same goal, and it makes you better to compete against talented players. We’re here to learn, first and foremost, so that’s what’s most important.

It was also different because most of us were teamed with guys we’ve never played with before. I spent most of the scrimmage with Dan Delisle and Mihail Plotnikov, but it wasn’t hard at all to join them since everyone is so skilled. They really make it easy on you.

It’s tough to single out one standout player, since it seems like everyone is so strong. Everyone who touches the puck does something good with it, and it seems like each one is better than the last. Teuvo Teravainen did have a great game – a goal and an assist – and you can see how skilled he is. He’s great with the puck and he knows what to do with it.

Away from the ice, things are pretty low-key. We had a lot of free time last night, so we walked around the city and did some shopping on Michigan Avenue. But otherwise, we spend a lot of time resting, since we’re working hard during the days.

We have a social tonight, so that should be fun. But I think we’re all looking forward to another scrimmage tomorrow.

Day 4

It was another tough battle, and another good win for the team during Prospect Camp scrimmage today.

It’s so much fun to play out there with these guys. Everyone comes and battles – it’s really fun. When the play gets this competitive, it’s natural that there will be fights or shoving between the teams, and I was part of it today. We’ll all be friends after the game’s over, but on the ice, no one on the other team is a friend. It’s a battle – just the heat of the moment kind of thing.

I took a turn in the shootout, and it was cool to get the call from our coaches. I made a move there, but I hit some bad ice. I probably should have just shot it, and tried to get it past the goalie’s glove. It’s great that we still won the game.

For the rest of the day, I think we might walk down to the beach, and down Michigan Avenue. It’s our last night together as a group in Chicago, so we want to just enjoy the city a little bit before we head out tomorrow.

Whatever we do, it won’t be quite as big as yesterday, when we had our social at Trump Tower. We were able to be outside, and take in the view of Chicago. Patrick Kane wound up stopping by, and it was cool to meet him. He was really interested in where we came from and how we were liking the camp; he was a really nice guy.

Well, we only have one more day left of camp: it’s one more chance for us to show off what we can do. I think the fans that come can expect a really competitive, fast-paced game tomorrow.

Day 5

Well, the last day of Prospect Camp has come and gone.

On the ice, it was another good win for our team, and I was able to help in the victory with a goal and an assist.

On my goal, Joe Gleason was flying up the ice. I got to the open area and he fed me through the defenseman. I just had to tap it into the open net. Then on my assist, Denis Hollenstein gave me the drop pass, he got open, and he yelled for it back and buried it. I was pretty fortunate there – he saw the play the whole way.

Overall, I thought we played really well as a team this week. It’s kind of hard coming together when we didn’t know each other to start with, but we really put out a good effort and we played great. I think we were all proud of what we showed out there this week.

After the scrimmage ended, all of the 2012 draft class got their jerseys with our names on the back and took a picture as a draft class. Being a part of the group is something pretty meaningful for us; we’re all members of the same class, we came through it together and we’ll always take that with us, no matter where we go from here.

I loved this week. Coming into it, I didn’t really know what to expect; I just came in knowing it was going to be hard and fast-paced, and it definitely was, but I felt good about my performance. I feel like I got better every day and that was my goal here. You come here to get better and learn from the coaches, and even some of the older players. I think I accomplished that; I’m pretty happy with the week.

The biggest thing that I came away with is just how hard everyone works, and you can tell. Hard work is going to get you the furthest, so keep doing it.

There’s nothing left but to jump in my car and go home. My team, the Waterloo Black Hawks, are heading to Russia in August to compete in the World Junior Cup, so I’m excited for that and ready to get the 2012-13 season underway.

I want to thank the Blackhawks organization for a great week – it was a lot of fun and I feel like we all learned a lot. I definitely won’t ever forget it.

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