MONTREAL - From his father, Bob, to goaltending coaches Dave Rogalski and Robb Stauber, Charlie Lindgren had his fair share of mentors growing up.
Now, it's Lindgren's turn to assume a mentorship role in conjunction with the 11th annual Warren Strelow National Team Goaltending Camp this week at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, MI.
The 24-year-old goaltender is one of several current professionals USA Hockey has invited to take part in the four-day event, along with 27 young netminders, including Canadiens prospect, Cayden Primeau.
"I think whenever you get the chance to give back, you always want to do that," said Lindgren, who is eager to work with some of the top American hopefuls. "I'm sure that the younger goalies are going to have some questions and I'm going to be excited to answer them. I hope they can look at me as someone they can talk to and really look up to. Being in a position of a mentor is something I'm going to cherish."
His message to Primeau and company during their time together will be one of patience and perseverance.
"I think the biggest thing is don't rush what you're doing because all good things take time," explained Lindgren, whose path to the pros included a two-year stint in the USHL and three seasons at St. Cloud State University in the NCAA ranks. "For some goalies, it's going to take longer to get to where they want to be, but it's all about respecting the process and just working as hard as you can every single day."
Admittedly, the Lakeville, MN native hasn't attended a goalie camp since he was "16 or 17 years old, probably since high school," so this will mark a return to his roots, so to speak.
He plans on doing some serious learning too, of course.
"Anytime I'm around other goalies, younger or older, I'm always looking to learn. There are always things I'm open to," mentioned Lindgren, who plans on picking up some tricks of the goaltending trade from fellow USA Hockey invitee, Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings. "It's going to be fun being around goaltenders from all different age groups with different styles. It'll be a great learning experience."
'An awesome summer'
From a training standpoint, Lindgren made one notable change to his workout routine over the last few months in Minnesota. He made an effort to play a variety of sports to complement his work in the gym and on the ice.
"I feel like I've been really active this summer, which I think has been really good for me. I think right now I'm in tip-top shape," said Lindgren, before expanding upon some of his go-to activities. "This year, I've played more tennis as exercise. It's a fun way to condition. I also played a lot of Spikeball. Especially on Fridays, after my workout with our group, we'd play a best-of-three series. It's phenomenal conditioning and hand-eye coordination. It's a fun way to keep things light, but keep you competitive and working hard at the same time."
It should come as no surprise that Lindgren is counting down the days until training camp begins.
"It's been an awesome summer. I'm really looking forward to next year. I think right now I'm in a really good spot," affirmed Lindgren, who split time between the AHL's Laval Rocket and the Canadiens last season. "I'm going to go into camp full force and ready to rock."
Lindgren plans on returning to Montreal in early September. He'll be driving, but he might not be making the nearly 20-hour trek from Minneapolis alone. After chatting with defenseman Brett Lernout, who resides in Winnipeg, the pair could be caravanning together the whole way. Stay tuned…