While the NHL Draft is a fantastic event and gives fans a good look at the future of their favorite team, the week of development camp is even better.
For the complete Development Camp Media Guide, CLICK HERE.
You have prospects from all over the world and playing in dozens of different leagues at several different levels, convening in one spot for the week to train, shake hands, meet the staff and put on a show for their new hometown fans.
It's going down in Columbus, this week. The Blue Jackets' top prospects are starting to arrive in town and this year's camp has an exciting vibe to it. First-round pick (2012) Ryan Murray is arriving soon, Ryan Johansen will be participating along with Cam Atkinson, and the two newest additions between the pipes (Oscar Dansk, Joonas Korpisalo) are in attendance, as well.
The prospects get an all-encompassing look at life in the National Hockey League, while also having the opportunity to get familiar with the city of Columbus and the Blue Jackets' staff. Amateur scouting director Tyler Wright took over planning of the camp when he served as the Blue Jackets' player development coach, and as he's getting ready to pass the torch to Chris Clark (recently named to the player development post), his fingerprints are all over the camp.
Wright wanted to make sure the players didn't just come into Columbus, do some workouts, skate for a bit and then go off on their own for the rest of the summer. The development camp can best be described as an orientation into the NHL -- yes, the prospects will skate, scrimmage and meet the media, but they have other notable things on the itinerary such as cooking classes, team-building exercises and more.
On the subject of cooking classes, here's a look at Ryan Johansen and fellow CBJ prospects trying their hand at preparing dinner during development camp a year ago:
A brief rundown of what's happening in the short-term with development camp: the players are arriving tonight (and maybe early tomorrow, depending on flight schedules and/or possible delays) and are having a team dinner. After the dinner, they'll disperse back to their hotel rooms and get set for the first official day of camp tomorrow (Tuesday).
JacketsTV and I will be following the prospects throughout the week, and they'll be doing fun stuff off the ice, as well. Some of the guys are going to be on the Blue Jackets float during the Red, White and Boom parade tomorrow night and our broadcasters will be visiting the Independence Day celebrations around Columbus. We'll also be sitting down with some of the prospects for JacketsTV features, so keep an eye out for that.
Make sure you get down to the OhioHealth Ice Haus if your schedule permits -- it's going to be a fun week and it's always exciting to see the Blue Jackets' top prospects together on the ice. All on-ice sessions are free and open to the public, and I hope to see you down here at the rink.
If you can't make it, don't worry. BlueJackets.com and the CBJ Today blog has you covered -- I'll be keeping tabs on camp all week long, and plan to bring you an in-depth look at the personalities in the CBJ pipeline.