BostonBruins.com – On the fourth day of the Boston Bruins and Pro Ambitions Hockey, Inc. Summer Camp presented by Stonyfield Farms the youth hockey players got another visit from another Bruin as Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney was in attendance to sign autographs, answer questions and help lead the on ice instruction.
"Obviously just having an opportunity to meet the kids is important," Sweeney said from the Jim Roche Community Ice Arena in West Roxbury. "I think the camp is a phenomenal way to give back a little bit and for the Bruins Foundation organization to be involved."
The B’s Assistant GM also spoke about the role camps like this play particularly in the local area.
"It’s great because Massachusetts and New England is certainly a fan-based, important area for hockey and we need to continue to cultivate that," Sweeney said. "Ice time sometimes is limited, so any time you can get more and more kids exposed to it hopefully you can develop that inertia that it takes for kids to love to play.
"Once you’re on the ice I think all kids love to play the game, but they’re a little intimidated at first to get on.
"I think this just gives the kids a little more relaxed atmosphere to come out and say, 'Hey this is a lot of fun,'" he said.
While Sweeney and the campers were working hard on the ice, he also touched on the significance of diversifying their training.
"It’s important for all kids to play all different sports -- I talked to them about reading books in the summer time -- because all of that stuff has to have a balance," Sweeney said. "I don’t believe in just kids playing hockey all year long and not taking a break from it.
However, he said a week-long camp like this is a welcomed warm weather return to the rink.
"To be away from it for four or five months is tough on the kids especially when they’re just learning," he said. "I think they get discouraged if they haven’t made any progress, and this is a perfect opportunity for them just to knock the rust off."
It was an opportunity for Sweeney to do the same, who said transitioning from a player to a manager has limited the amount of time he spends on the ice over the summer.
"It takes a lot during the summer months to balance the recovery and the strength-building phases that you need to go through in order to play in the National Hockey League," Sweeney said of his days donning a B’s uniform.
He hopes his visit to camp will impart that lesson of dedication on the young players, as well.