|Kevin Regan makes a save at Development Camp
University of New Hampshire goaltender Kevin Regan was not far from home at this summer's Development Camp.
Actually, he was literally “at home” every night.
That's because, unlike many of the other B’s prospects at camp, and in order to keep his amateur status and retain his NCAA eligibility, Regan spent his nights in his hometown of South Boston instead of at the team’s hotel.
But then again, even when he was at the Bruins practice facility in Wilmington, inside Ristuccia Memorial Arena's cold environs, he felt very comfortable.
You see, Regan used to go to the arena as a kid to watch the likes of former Bruins Ray Bourque and Cam Neely at the B’s training camp, and it is safe to say that the young netminder is thrilled to be wearing the Black & Gold colors of his hometown team -- even if he had to turn them in at the end of camp and return to the University of New Hampshire.
“It is unbelievable,” said Kevin of the experience. “Just being in an environment like this, even if it is only a development camp, still means a lot to me.”
Regan, as grounded as they come, had pretty simple expectations for his first taste of pro hockey.
“I just hope I have a good week,” Kevin said after his first day. “And I hope I can, personally, get some tips on what I need to work on.
“It is a pretty laid back environment.
“And I also hope to get to know a few of the guys and get those relationships going,” he said.
Well, Regan definitely had a good week and attracted the attention of the press and B's fans alike with his steady, sometimes spectacular, play.
Also included in that group of fans were many New Hampshire natives that had traveled south in their UNH jerseys to catch a glimpse of what they can expect to see this upcoming season at UNH's Whittemore Center.
But the Wildcat faithful were not the only ones who were excited about the upcoming Hockey East season.
“I am psyched," said Regan. "I am really happy about (UNH’s) team (and) I think it is the best team we have had in the four years that I have been there.
"So hopefully we will have (an opportunity) to make it to the national championships.
"Of course, that is always our goal,” said Regan.
For sure, Regan had a standout year last season for the Wildcats, leading UNH to the Hockey East regular season crown as well as leading the conference with a .935 save percentage, but his play also claimed the praise of Don Sweeney, the Bruins Director of Player Development and Hockey Operations.
“Kevin had a really nice year,” said the Bruins alum. “He trained with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides in the summertime, and thought he made tremendous strides over the course of that.
“I think Kevin looked at (his upcoming season) as the year where he was going to take the bulk of the load after splitting duties (with Jeff Petresiak) the previous two years. He is a pretty focused kid and he is continuing to build.”
Furthermore, Sweeney said Regan's hard work in Wilmington would help, too.
“He is getting a pretty up close look by an NHL goaltending coach (Bob Essensa) and is playing next to some other players that are highly (regarded) like Tuukka Rask
“Being around this environment is only going to help him going forward.
“He is a really nice kid, kind of soft spoken, and I think he was really excited about getting the opportunity to come here and it looks like he is trying to take advantage of it,” he said.
Regan certainly did take advantage of his time with Essensa.
“It is great,” Kevin remarks. “He is a professional goaltending coach and he works with NHL goalies, so he has some great insight.
“Working with him was my favorite part of camp.
“Obviously, getting a lot of tips early in the summer should really help me out,” he said.
But the B's camp wasn’t all work and no play and, as such, the boys spent their time off the ice getting to know each other and seeing the sights around Boston.
Of course, seeing the attractions of the city was not as enthralling for a Boston native like Regan and Kevin was joking around before the guys hopped in the vans that took them to the Prudential Building, where their Duck Tour of Boston would begin.
“It is kind of like heresy for someone from Boston to step foot on a duck tour,” said the Southie native. “But I do not think anyone would want the personal tour in my ’91 Hatchback."
So, instead of getting familiar with Boston, Kevin took his time getting familiar with the new faces, and becoming friendly with the more familiar ones, such as Brock Bradford, a rival from Boston College.
True to form, however, the outgoing Regan had no problem putting aside his Hockey East differences with Brock or good friend, Chris Collins, himself a former Eagle.
“It is not weird playing with them,” said Regan. “Everyone is a friend off the ice.
|Regan will return to UNH in the fall. |
“And in a camp like this, you are all just trying to get better.
“Sure, I will be playing against a couple of these guys for one more year, and then we will be teammates again,” he said.
For his part Bradford was happy to get to know Kevin, but had a little bit of a different outlook.
“We have had some battles in Hockey East,” said Bradford. “Kevin had a great season last year, so I will take what I can get against him in practice this week.”
Take what you can get, huh?
Judging by his on-ice success during camp and his efforts last season, chances are good that Bradford's philosophy when facing Regan will become standard practice, because one thing is certain: In goal, Regan doesn't give up much.