BostonBruins.com - As a part of Development Camp, the Bruins prospects got a glimpse of what it takes to be a Boston Bruins off the ice, in addition to their on-ice sessions throughout the week.
A few of the prospects were off to Burlington Ice Palace for an on-ice clinic with players from the New England Future Stars Squirt and PeeWee teams courtesy of FMC Ice Sports.
The Future Stars combines game play with weekly skill sessions to enhance a players' skill, skating and intellect by creating an environment that fosters each player's development. This clinic served as a great opportunity for the kids.
“They offered it out to our whole team. We put it out there for whoever would like to participate in today’s event and actually the whole team showed up,” said Future Stars coach Dom Pazzia.
With the great turnout, there was abundant enthusiasm as the prospects helped the Future Stars through various drills.
“When we got out there they had their full ice skating drills, working on their transitions, working on there backwards skating," said Brian Ferlin, taking part in his third camp since being drafted in 2011.
The kids were broken up into a few groups for instruction. Ferlin methodically took his group through 1-on-1 and 2-on-1 drills in the neutral zone, trying to beat the defense and make a play.
Ferlin and the B's hopefuls enjoyed the experience, and the coaches had nothing but great things to say about the way the prospects interacted with the kids.
“They’re all participating. They’re all helping out shooting pucks in the corner and talking to the kids, explaining to them about some drills, explaining to them what to do," said Pazzia.
"They’re a group of good guys helping the kids out.”
The clinic was full of helpful instructions accompanied with jokes, laughter and some healthy competition. It was hard to determine whether the kids had more fun learning from the prospects or if the prospects had more fun teaching the kids.
“It’s awesome. I was talking to a bunch of them. They’re fun kids," smiled Ferlin.
"It’s a lot of fun to be out there with them and help out where you can. Just talking to them a little bit and getting to know them a little bit is great. It was definitely a unique experience.
But the clinic was about more than just a fun time. It was so much more than that. Through community activities the prospects are able to learn just how much of a role giving back to the community plays in what it takes to be a Bruin.
“I think it’s huge. Being a part of the Bruins organization you realize that to have a positive attitude to build in the community and better the youth is so important," said goaltending prospect Zane Gotherberg, participating in his fourth camp.
"By doing this and coming out and helping the community I think it does speak volumes to the organization and how its run and the people in the front office too organizing this and helping out the community."
And it’s obvious that these acts of giving back are truly appreciated by the members of the community.
“It’s unbelievable how much the Bruins, with FMC work together doing these events, especially something like this. It’s just so exciting that they actually reach out and help out the kids. It’s huge for USA hockey and everything about their development,” said Coach Pazzia.
While learning the importance of giving back, the prospects were also learning to embrace the opportunity to serve as role models for these young kids.
“Them just being here the kids are so ecstatic and excited. When I told them what was going on their faces lit up. I can’t even express how excited they are," added Pazzia.
"Smiling from cheek to cheek. They’re in awe just looking at them and skating around with them in warm-ups."
“I never thought I’d see the day when that would be the case, but it’s really a special feeling. You’re in a great position being a role model for these guys,” said prospect Rob O’ Gara, who also had a chance to help run the on-ice clinic during last year's Development Camp in 2012.
By the end of the clinic, it seemed like the kids had put on a pretty good show for their role models, impressing Ferlin and the others with their skills.
“There’s quite a few kids with a lot of talent, a lot of good skaters. There was definitely a bunch of good young kids out there. There was actually a girl out there, and she might have been the fastest one out of all of them. That was very cool to watch.”
According to Zane Gothberg, the “Future Stars” could turn out to be just that.
“Who knows? Maybe it has a bigger impact on them than you think, because maybe ten years down the road they could be in the same shoes as we are, attending development camp and going from there.”
---Written by Kayleigh Hodgdon for BostonBruins.com