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Development Camp Kicks Off

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins - Just as you may have seen throughout the NHL in the past week, once the majority of current NHLers part ways for the offseason to re-energize and train, the first half of July often features teams' prospects taking part in development camps.

Photos, stories and videos of the NHL's next crop of athletes filter through Twitter streams, and across websites and social media.

Starting Wednesday, we're no different. The Bruins' prospects and camp attendees have made their way into the Boston area and are about to begin a week of on-ice practices, off-ice testing, meetings and activities, all geared towards - you guessed it - their development.

This year's crop of 24 attendees includes Bruins' draft picks, signings and invites. They come from colleges, junior hockey, Massachusetts and Sweden. Some are first-timers; others are third year "veterans" who will be counted on to fill leadership roles.

The camp was started in 2007 by Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney and the Bruins' staff, and included the likes of Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask, Brad Marchand and Adam McQuaid.

“I am just going to try and work hard and take in as many pointers as I can,” McQuaid said of his time in Wilmington, back during his camp. “Hopefully I can improve and come into Boston’s camp and give it the best shot I can."

It's evolved ever since.

While the attendees are not the Boston Bruins, the best part of watching the camp throughout the week is knowing that any of the players someday could be. You get to catch a glimpse of the up-and-comers. You were there and saw them grow and develop from year to year.

Last summer, we saw current 'B' Torey Krug take on a leadership role during camp, having already played a handful of games with Boston after signing as a free agent out of Michigan State. Dougie Hamilton also manned the blueline at 'Dev Camp,' showcasing his tall frame and offensive upside.

This year’s roster includes 12 forwards, eight defensemen, and three goaltenders. The roster has a good mix of players from all over the country and the world. It includes 2013 draft picks Linus Arnesson, Peter Cehlarik, Ryan Fitzgerald, Wiley Sherman and Mitchell Dempsey, as well as draft picks from recent years.

Six players are participating in the camp on an invitee basis, meaning they have not been drafted by the Bruins or signed to any deals - Casey Bailey (Penn State), Ryan Carpenter (Bowling Green State), Alex Cord (Mississauga Steelheads-OHL), Derek Docken (Alaska-Anchorage), Garnet Hathaway (Brown University) and Daniel Brodin (Assat Pori-Finnish Elite League; drafted by Toronto in 2010).

Of the 24 players on the roster, nine are currently enrolled and playing hockey in American colleges and universities with two (Matt Benning, Ryan Fitzgerald) committed to play hockey at Northeastern and Boston College, respectively, in the Fall. One draft pick, Wiley Sherman, will play at Harvard in the Fall of 2014.

Matt Lindblad (Dartmouth College) and Chris Casto (Minnesota Duluth) recently finished their college careers and signed entry-level contracts with the B’s as free agents. Both appeared in four games for the Providence Bruins at the end of the year.

Five of the attendees played in the Ontario Hockey League this past year, while four come from playing overseas in Sweden and Finland.

Besides getting to know the prospects and their styles of play of this week, we'll also see leaders emerge.

“We always encourage players returning to Development Camp to increase their comfort level as far as taking a larger leadership role,” said Don Sweeney. “[Anthony] Camara, [Brian] Ferlin and [Zane] Gothberg should feel confident to aid in making others in the group feel comfortable."

“[Seth] Griffith, [Malcom] Subban, [Matt] Grzelcyk, [Rob] O’ Gara and Matt Benning should also have a better understanding of what to expect during the week. [Matthew] Lindblad and [Chris] Casto played in Providence, so despite just signing with the Bruins, they have played games for the coaches in Providence and they will be able to lead in on-ice drills.”

The schedule below outlines the practice times for each day of the Camp:

Wednesday, July 10 (Wilmington, MA)
-Development Camp opens

-On-ice practice, Ristuccia Arena, 10:45 a.m.

Thursday, July 11 (Wilmington, MA)
-On-ice practice, Ristuccia Arena, 11:00 a.m.
-On-ice practice #2, Ristuccia Arena, 12:45 p.m.

Friday, July 12 (Wilmington, MA)
-On-ice practice, Ristuccia Arena, 10:30 a.m.

-On-ice practice #2, Ristuccia Arena, 11:45 a.m.
-Community events throughout Greater Boston

Saturday, July 13 (Wilmington, MA)
-On-ice practice, Ristuccia Arena, 11:00 a.m. 

Sunday, July 14 (Wilmington, MA)
-On-ice practice, Ristuccia Arena, 10:00 a.m. 

-On-ice practice #2, Ristuccia Arena, 10:45 a.m.

Monday, July 15
-Team building exercises (closed to public)
-Development Camp breaks

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