The Vancouver Canucks prospect camp kicked off today with the young talent participating in a battery of fitness tests. The prospects will get to show their skills over the weekend as prospect camp continues with on-ice training at the UBC Thunderbird arena.
Despite the intense fitness tests the players are in good spirits and eager for the chance to make an impression on the Canucks coaching staff. With the demanding day of testing behind them, they focus on hockey and showcasing their skills.Cory Schneider
, the Canucks first round draft pick in 2004, is participating in his second prospect camp following his first professional season with the Manitoba Moose, and looks forward to this weekend’s on-ice training and getting the competitive energy flowing again.
“It’s exciting just because you get to play with the guys on the ice, you get to test yourself and see how much you have improved and how far you’ve come in the past year,” he said. “Hopefully make an impression on the coaches and the staff, and just put yourself in their minds so when it comes time to make a decision you’re right there in the mix.”
Throughout the summer the prospects focus their training on conditioning and trying to achieve the elite fitness level of NHL players.
Cody Hodgson, selected 10th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, spent the summer working and training with Dave Gagner and shadowing his 19 year old son, Sam, who played 79 games with the Edmonton Oilers in 2007-08 season.
“I just tried to learn as much as possible from Sam and Dave too,” said Hodgson. “[Dave] played 15 years in the NHL, there’s no better learning experience in the summer for me. I just think of prospects camp as a great opportunity to play in the National Hockey League. It’s been my goal my whole life, so hopefully it comes true.”
At 18 years old, Hodgson was named captain of his OHL team the Brampton Battalion in the 2007-08 season and is a prospect fans are keeping a close watch on. Another prospect to keep an eye on will be Michael Grabner the Canucks first round selection in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
Grabner tallied 22 goals last season with the Moose in his first full year as a professional, has been through the grind of prospects camp before. He’s training hard this summer to prepare and prove he can play a two-way game.
“That’s the main thing – to try to get some goals here - but they wanted me to work on my defensive game and that’s what I tried to do,” said Grabner. “So, I need to show that them that I worked on it and that I improved from last year.”
With the intense fitness testing over, the prospects will spend the next three days on the ice at Thunderbird Arena. Check back to Canucks.com for videos, features, blogs, and exclusive photos from the week’s events.