BostonBruins.com – On Tuesday, Boston Bruins forward Daniel Paille captured the attention of nearly 100 youth hockey players at the first of four Boston Bruins and Pro Ambitions Hockey, Inc. Summer Camps presented by Stonyfield Farms. Between answering questions and skating in practice, Paille was thrilled to share his experiences with the children.
“It’s important to have an influence on the kids’ lives,” Paille said from Jim Roche Community Ice Arena in West Roxbury. “I definitely enjoyed it if someone came down and watched us play or came on the ice to take the time to say hi.
“It means a lot to kids.”
Many of the campers asked what it takes to reach the National Hockey League and sustain a successful career at that level. The 28-year-old said it’s about commitment and the sacrifices you make along the way.
“When you grow up playing, a lot of kids get to have their weekends where they get to have fun and have sleepovers,” Paille said of his own sacrifices. “Mind you I did at times, but most of the time I’d be at tournaments and gone for the weekend so I couldn’t hang out with anybody.”
Although he may have missed some time with friends, the Welland, Ontario native said playing hockey also brought them all closer together.
“My favorite memory would be just having the opportunity to go out with a bunch of my friends – and it’s not even practice, it’s not even a game – it’s just going out there and working on skills and just having fun with it,” Paille recalled. “I think that’s part of what makes hockey so enjoyable that you can have that time where you can absolutely not have a care in the world.”
Following the question-and-answer and autograph sessions, the campers could hardly contain their excitement to share the ice with the NHL star. With each pass of the Zamboni their cheers of “Paille, Paille, Paille” grew louder.
Once they took to the ice, he and the camp staff put the skaters through their paces in one-on-one battle drills.
“It is a lot of work but at the same time it can be a lot of fun,” Paille said. “That was my whole philosophy growing up and I want to make that message to them as well."
Events like these summer camps help remind the B’s forward why he loves the sport, and he plans to keep that passion as he advances with his summer workouts and into Training Camp in September.
“The main point right now is just to have strength and keep building on it during the summer, and I feel that I’m doing that right now,” Paille said.
No. 20 also said the longer offseason has given him a chance to relax and regroup for the upcoming season.
“As much as you want to play in June every year, sometimes it’s not going to happen,” Paille acknowledged. “When it doesn’t happen you’ve got to take advantage of that rest time.
“I feel almost rejuvenated and ready to go.”