WILMINGTON – Cam Clarke was drafted by the Bruins just three weeks ago. But his family’s history with the team goes back much further than that.
Clarke’s father grew up a huge Bruins fan and adored B's legend Rick Middleton. Over the years, his Black & Gold fandom faded as his hometown of Ottawa got a team of its own.
But he always hung on to one special piece of Bruins memorabilia: a vintage Bruins jersey, personalized with the last name Clarke and the No. 16, in honor of Middleton.
After Cam Clarke was drafted by the B’s in the fifth round of last month’s draft, his mother made sure to pull the jersey out of the closet.
“Maybe the weirdest story I’ve ever been a part of,” Clarke said after Day 2 of Bruins Development Camp. “My dad when he was super young was a big Boston Bruins fan and his favorite player was Rick Middleton.
“I wasn’t at the draft – I was at home – so my mom pulled out the jersey and it was just unbelievable to see the No. 16 [for his draft year] and my last name on it. It was a cool experience.”
Clarke’s dad was more than thrilled to see his son picked by the team he grew up rooting for.
“As any dad, just probably so proud,” said Cam Clarke. “And he knows how hard I worked to get to that point and all that adversity I had to go through. He was just super happy for me and hopefully I can succeed.”
Clarke is eager to soak up as much as he can this week at Bruins Development Camp and carry all that he gains into his freshman campaign at Ferris State University.
“Just the experience and seeing what it takes to be a pro hockey player and what I need to work on in my development over the next couple years to hopefully be able to wear this sweater one day,” said the 20-year-old defensemen, who played for the Lone Star Brahmas of the NAHS last season.
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound native of Tecumseh, Mich., knows putting on some muscle and shoring up his skating will be key as he enters his first season of college hockey this fall.
“I’m just trying to get to that physical stature that I need to be,” said Clarke. “I need to get bigger and stronger, need to work on some footwork and some skating abilities. But other than that I’m just trying to see what these guys are doing and how hard they work and how hard I need to work to make it at this level.”
Taking Some Swings
After a long day on the ice, the prospects got to turn in there sticks and skates for some baseball bats. The group traveled to Fenway Park to tour the ballpark and take some hacks in the visitor’s batting cage.
The players also got to poke around the Red Sox clubhouse, check out many of the park’s signature landmarks, and take a stroll out to the Green Monster.
They were allowed to step inside the hallowed wall and sign their names on the concrete, while also getting a chance to check out the view from the Monster seats.
“It was really cool,” said 2015 first-round pick Jake DeBrusk. “We got to see some cool artifacts about the ballpark. We got to go inside the Green Monster and get to learn about the one red seat.
“I’m from Edmonton, Alberta, so I don’t get to see too many ballgames. It was a really cool experience and I’m happy that we got a chance to do it.”
DeBrusk had been to Fenway once before to watch the Red Sox battle the Toronto Blue Jays last season.
“I didn’t know as much as I know now, but it was really cool,” he said. “Big Papi hit a home run that game. That was all I needed. It was awesome.”
News and Notes
There were three different on-ice sessions for the players on Wednesday. There were separate skills sessions for the forwards and defensemen, sandwiched around a full practice with all players.
Second-round draft pick Ryan Lindgren was on the ice after missing Tuesday’s session due to a class commitment at the University of Minnesota.
Forward Mark Naclerio, who played briefly with the Providence Bruins last season, did not skate due to a lower-body injury, according to Providence assistant coach Kevin Dean.
The 2016 Boston Bruins Development Camp is presented by AT&T.