WILMINGTON, MA – The sixth annual Bruins Development Camp is more than just 24/7 on-ice drills.
For Minnesota native and camp newcomer, Chris Casto, the off-ice rigor was a welcomed surprise.
“I was expecting a little bit more hockey and a little bit less of the off-ice stuff,” said the blueliner, who was one of seven invites to the camp. “But the off-ice stuff is great.”
Casto is looking to improve more than just his skating skills this summer, noting that he’s focused on upping his hockey IQ.
“[I want to] get stronger and faster,” he said after a double session of on-ice practice. “But, also just my overall concept of the game within my head, become smarter and quicker with my decisions.”
There is also a big change from his usual training with the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, where he was ranked second in scoring for defensemen with six goals.
“Minnesota, there’s a lot more emphasis on hitting and skating,” said Casto, who is a rising sophomore at the university. “Whereas here, there’s a lot more emphasis on kind of, scoring and stick handling and a lot more of a skill type game I guess.”
But he’s glad for the diversity of practice, as it helps him better understand what it takes to play at an NHL level.
“It’s tough but it’s good for getting to know the guys and what they expect – learning what they expect,” Casto said.
For a skater who learned to play hockey from his father - who had never played hockey himself - Casto believes he’s come a long way.
“I skated on my pond when I was three, my dad taught me,” said the 20-year-old. “He didn’t play hockey but he tried to teach me and he did a good job.”
Of course, Casto is well aware of the fact that there is always room for improvement.
“You know, [I’m learning] that there’s a lot of good players out there,” Casto said. “And you gotta really be special at something or be good at everything to play at this level.”