REVERE, MA – Cronin Arena was abuzz this afternoon as the Bruins prospects took to the ice to assist with a youth hockey clinic.
The event was part of the B’s FUNdamentals program, and featured three cross-ice scrimmages and an autograph session. In all, 54 skaters participated, ranging in ages from 5-9, with a wide range of skill and experience.
B’s prospects Darik Angeli, Justin Courtnall, Seth Griffith, Alexander Khokhlachev, Parker Milner, Robbie O’Gara, Cody Payne, Niklas Svedberg, and Wayne Simpson were in attendance. They all agreed that the clinic provided a nice change of pace from the other more strenuous Development Camp activities.
“It’s been a tough few days, so it’s definitely been fun to be with the kids and let some steam off and be able to give back to the community,” Courtnall said.
“It’s a lot of fun to get down here and help out with the kids,” Milner said. “It’s something we look forward to and today was great.
“Yeah I think we might be having more fun than them.”
The kids raced around the rink, and were eager to catch passes and even score a few goals on the B’s hopefuls. There were a lot of diving plays - some more intentional than others - and the older guys were quick to help them back to their skates with words of encouragement.
Courtnall and recent draft pick Cody Payne recalled participating in similar events when they were younger, and wanted to make a lasting impression on the young fans and their families.
“During those little events and scrimmages, [I remember] how important it was when they said hi to me [and] how important I felt,” Courtnall said. “I always try to make sure they feel the same way and have a really good experience because you want them to have fun.”
“Everyone was that age at one time and everyone had that older player come out that they looked up to so it was nice to be one of those guys today,” Payne added.
Niklas Svedberg, who was just signed by the club in May, felt at ease among the kids due to his experience working with youths in his hometown of Sollentuna, Sweden.
“The kids are playing and having a good time,” he said. “So it’s always fun to see kids having a good time.”
“We have a lot of these stuffs back home in Sweden as well.”
In addition to being fun and educational for all those involved, the youth hockey clinic also gave the Development Campers a glimpse of life off the ice in the National Hockey League.
“I think it’s really important to… be able to show the proper representation of the team,” Courtnall said. “And be able to get out in the community and have fun with the kids and the families, and be able to show that you really care about your fans and the people that support you.”
---Travis Basciotta contributed to this report.