Boston, MA --
Although their arms were probably still sore from passing and shooting pucks around the ice for the past three mornings – and from whatever off-ice workouts they’d been doing – the pack of Bruins prospects piled into vans Thursday night and headed off for an evening of bonding at Kings in downtown Boston.
It took a few frames for the boys to get warmed up, but it was clear by the time they’d gotten into the game that the whole evening was never meant to be about bowling.
“In these [kinds of activities], you get matched up with teams, and you get to know each player a little bit better,” said Jordan Knackstedt.
The campers certainly acted like a team, cheering each other on and high-fiving after they earned strikes.
“You get to know what guys are like away from the rink, and we’re all becoming great friends,” added Joe Colborne. “We’re going to be a pretty tight-knit group by the end of the week.”
And while the boys were certainly all friendly and non-competitive, some were eager to defend their bowling abilities, good and bad.
“I think there’s a couple guys ahead of me,” Knackstedt joked. “I’ll have to pick it up a bit.”
Nearby, Brad Marchand
said that his team was “throwing strikes all day.” However, teammate Colborne explained that, in fact, Levi Nelson was the one keeping their group in the game.
“Not so good,” the 18-year old Colborne confessed about his game, “but we’re all having fun, even if we aren’t very good at it.”
Nelson, who “thought he wasn’t a very good bowler” managed to bowl a 175 in the first game and threw strike after strike until his fingers got sore, even after his teammates had given up.Mark Goggin
summed up the mood best when he explained that the night was about “just hanging out with friends.”
With the campers throwing through-the-legs and behind-the-back shots, crowding around the hunting game machine, and eating pizza and wings under the black lights and loud music of the alley, onlookers probably thought they were just a group of college friends – not the next potential Bruins superstar.
Having that sense of camaraderie within the group right from this starting point helps in the long run said Matt Marquardt.
“There’s a whole feeling-out process no matter what team you start playing with, but the fact that you already know your teammates [after camp], there’s a step cancelled right there,” he added. “You don’t have to worry about that anymore, and you get right into hockey stuff.”
The 20-year old forward was happy with the Bruins for bringing future potential teammates together.
“[The fact that we’ve all bonded] shows a lot about the guys they brought in here and a lot about the organization and what they stand for,” he said.
As it seems like bowling has become popular among the Bruins organization – the squad hit a Tampa, Fla. alley during a road trip last February – it’s probably good that the new B’s learned the game early.
However, from what we’ve heard, and given the scores on Thursday night, these new B’s might be able to teach the current roster a thing or two about how to roll a strike.