Skates were put away and equipment was kept fresh on Day 3 of New Jersey Devils Development Camp. The Devils prospects traded in their equipment for a day off the ice, giving back through community service and were treated to a ride along the Hudson for an evening dinner cruise.
Day 3 started with off-ice workouts, then moved into a conference room where the prospects were treated to a seminar by Dr. Aimee Kimball, director of team and player development for the New Jersey Devils. Dr. Kimball stressed the importance of mental skills training, and everyone was put through a range of exercises and games designed to replicate the skills required to be successful hockey players and men. "It's a competitive aspect. We really value that. We want guys who are competitive. But it's also more fun for them" said Dr. Kimball. "We want this to be a good experience, and there is always a twist and a lesson that comes from the games." Several of those lessons were in communication, teamwork, and being supportive teammates. "We're trying to teach the players about all the aspects that go into performing at their very best. We try and get them to understand how important their mind is in their overall performance."
One of the qualities that makes up a great hockey player is his ability and willingness to give back to the community that has embraced him. Thursday afternoon, the Devils did just that and hosted their annual Development Camp Community Day. Players were divided into groups and spent the afternoon giving back. At Newark Public Library, the group of Ken Appleby, Nathan Bastian, Michael Kapla, Michael McLeod, Steve Santini, Blake Speers, Reilly Walsh and Colton White read and played games with children.
Back at the RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House Brandon Baddock, Robert Carpenter, Evan Cormier, Yaroslav Dyblenko, Joshua Jacobs, Nikita Popugaev, Marian Studenic, Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha helped host the Learn to Play Clinic. Several children from the community visited the practice facility and received expert training and coaching from staff and players. They also had the opportunity to learn about the benefit of healthy eating. At the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center the group led by Nico Hischier with Joey Anderson, Austin Cangelosi, Jocktan Chainey, Nicolas Guay, Ryan Kujawinski, Gilles Senn and Colby Sissons spent time with staff and children of the pediatric unit. The final group visited the Goodwill Rescue Mission in Newark where players handed out gifts, toured the facility and used their newfound cooking knowledge to help in meal prep.
To end a busy day, the Devils were treated to an organizational dinner cruise. With management and coaching staff aboard, it was an evening to relax and get away from the rink while spending time as teammates. The dinner cruised along the Hudson and around the Statue of Liberty. The prospects, who hail from all over the world, pulled out their phones as the boat approached Lady Liberty. The captain knew his passengers well, slowed down the boat to make sure everyone got the perfect Instagram and Snapchat picture with the sun setting in the background! By dark, the boat was back to shore, and everyone was headed back to their hotels ready for some rest and getting ready to get back out on the ice Friday.
The schedule is a little lighter on Friday. Everyone is back on the ice in the early morning. The group will be split into three groups for workouts skills skating and meetings before heading out to Montclair for a team building activity at Escape the Room.