Komisarek Dev Camp

After the NHL Draft, it’s always exciting to see the Canucks’ newest prospects hit the ice at development camp. Canuck prospects will gather in Vancouver for a week’s worth of on and off-ice learning, and this year, the Canucks decided to modify their plans to make the week even more impactful for the players. 

The 2024 development camp will have drills customized to each player's needs and laser-focused on individual learning. A higher coach-to-player ratio allows them to teach personalized drills. Instead of a 50-player roster, there will be 28 players, which includes many of the organization’s prospects, the incoming 2024 draft class, and a small number of invitees.  

This year, there’s overall less ice time and fitness testing, but more education. On Thursday, we still expect to see a scrimmage of some kind and shootout from 11 – 12 p.m.

Assistant General Manager Cammi Granato said feedback from the players from last year’s development camp resonated with her group and through their discussions on what their prospects need to work on they decided to create a tailored development camp. 

“It came out of all these great weekly discussions during the year between me, RJ [Ryan Johnson], and our player development staff. We’re always watching our prospects and we’re invested in helping them achieve their fullest potential, so it started from there,” Granato said. 

Many of the players that took part in Canucks 2023 development camp said they learned a lot from Yogi Švejkovský’s small area drills; for example, how to turn their body on a breakout or how to properly grab a puck on a board play. 

“We figured why don't we take less like ice time where we're just doing flow drills or doing speed drills as a group and why don't we utilize both ice sheets and break into smaller groups because we know what they need to work on,” Granato said. 

“We're hoping they walk away with more of an understanding of things to work on and can then apply it on their own in practices and games. When you have a large group, it kind of gets lost because you're catering to the masses. This is catering to the individual, which will hopefully be really helpful.” 

Player Development coaches Mikael Samuelsson and Mike Komisarek collaborated on the itinerary for Canucks development camp and the group of players will split off into small groups to work on assigned drills with Samuelsson, Komisarek, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and Švejkovský. 

With a much smaller number of players on the ice, the focus is going to be on small-group drills which will assist the development coaches to get important one-on-one conversations with the prospects. 

"I really like the smaller setting,” said Komisarek. “It’s more intimate, you get more personalized touches, and give them instant and focused feedback. The goal in this small-group environment is to pinpoint prioritized areas of improvement. When you give these kids that distinct individual feedback, it is enormously powerful.” 

“If I were a player again, that would be awesome to have,” said Samuelsson. “It is going to be so focused on yourself, and you can explore some of the smaller details, which are very hard to do during the season from your regular coaches. The first thing that comes to my mind is that this is going to be an educational camp.” 

An ‘education camp’ was a common theme for the development coaches as they want to be able to teach the prospects but also learn about them as human beings as much as the hockey players.  

“You really get to listen and get to know the players on a deeper level,” said Komisarek. “Once you understand them and show that you care about the person beyond just on the ice, you can help them carve out a path for the next couple of years and help create a realistic path to the NHL. But it all starts with understanding what makes the kid tick and showing that you genuinely care about them.” 

There will be a lot of attention to the players on the ice, but the development team and Canucks management certainly want to spend as much time off the ice as possible with the prospects as well. There will be lessons learned and stories told that will help create the base for a relationship between the players and the development coaches, and both Komisarek and Samuelsson see incredible value in the potential for relationship building at this camp. 

Effort is what can make a prospect stick out at these camps as the development coaches have all been able to see these players play. But the thing that the development coaches don’t get to see as often is how the players work. 

The weight room at Canucks development camp is going to teach the coaches a lot. 

“Throughout the season, you don't get to see these guys in the locker room and weight training. This week, you really get to understand how determined and committed these guys are. Having an incredible work rate is what really impresses me at a camp like this,’ said Komisarek. 

Both Komisarek and Samuelsson continue to love their jobs in development. The two former players enjoy building relationships between themselves and the players. This camp is a bit of a new challenge for them, as they have not run a development camp before but the two are excited to be leaders and connect with the young, talented people. 

“They are engaged. They want to learn. They are curious about how far they can take things. That is a relationship I want to support and be involved in,” said Samuelsson. “I absolutely love it – working with 18 to 22-year-old, driven, hard-working, ambitious human beings. Who wouldn't love that?” 

AHL Head Coach Manny Malhotra and Skills and Skating Coach Jason Krog will join Samuelsson, Komisarek, Švejkovský, and the Sedins. 

Malhotra, a former teammate of Samuelsson, the Sedins, and Komisarek, will lead the first day of on-ice practice which will have more flow drills to get the legs moving before getting into the nitty gritty. 

Camp gets going on July 1st and will continue until July 5th with a combination of on and off-ice activities. The new crop of prospects from the 2024 NHL Entry Draft will also be slotted into camp and get a chance to learn about the Canucks’ organization.

Both Samuelsson and Komisarek are planning to run a smooth camp, and the two development coaches appreciate the confidence instilled in them by Assistant General Manager Cammi Granato. 

It is going to be a fun week and be sure to follow along on Canucks.com and our social channels for updates from camp!