By Kyle Shohara
A standing-room-only crowd of more than 1,000 fans packed THE RINKS – Anaheim ICE on the Fourth of July for an intrasquad scrimmage on the third day of development camp. Participants included 2014 first-round draft pick Nick Ritchie, 2013 first-round pick Shea Theodore and 2012 second-round pick (and Irvine native) Nicolas Kerdiles.
The scrimmage was split into two 30-minute sessions, and it was Team Black, led by Kerdiles’ multi-goal performance, which came out on top with a 6-0 victory over Team White.
“I was happy with the way I played,” said Kerdiles. “My line was really good. We connected passes and shot the puck. That’s why I was rewarded on a couple goals. It was a good first scrimmage, and I’m looking forward to the next one.”
For a lot of the players, today’s scrimmage marked their first game-like situations since last season. “You ask any of those guys, and they just want to play games,” said Kerdiles. “That’s a big part of why we’re here right now. To get the first one in is fun, and the guys have gotten their legs under them.”
Kerdiles had plenty of friends and family in attendance this afternoon. After the scrimmage ended, Kerdiles walked to the far side of the rink to take photos and chat with his large group of supporters.
Ritchie, Anaheim’s 10th overall selection in the 2014 NHL Draft, is enjoying his first development camp with the Ducks. The bruising left winger took part in today’s scrimmage and was on the doorstep for several of Team Black’s goals. “All in all, I played a pretty solid game,” he said. “The ice got heavy at the end of those periods, but the game was pretty fast. At first, it started off a little like shinny [pick-up hockey], but by the end of it, everyone was going pretty hard. It was pretty fast.”
Both Kerdiles and Ritchie were impressed with the fan support today. “It was great seeing all these fans here from California,” said Kerdiles. “It’s just getting bigger. It speaks volumes. It’s nice to get the support from these fans. Hopefully they come out Monday.”
“It was pretty cool,” said Ritchie. “I’ve never been a part of something like that. For a game in July, it was pretty cool. It’s great to have good fans here.”
Former Duck and Stanley Cup Champion Todd Marchant runs the annual prospect development camp. In his role as Director of Player Development for the Ducks, Marchant prepares and educates Anaheim prospects on succeeding in professional hockey.
“The goal of this camp is to have them find out where they are in their stage of their career, and what they do well, and what they need to improve on,” he said. “And for us, it allows us to get familiar with the players moving forward. It’s a great week, and we really enjoy having them around. We look forward to it every year.”
Marchant shared his thoughts on the development of Kerdiles and Ritchie.
“[Nic] spent some time in Norfolk, and I think that experience is invaluable for him going into training camp this year,” Marchant said. “He’s been successful at every level he’s played, and hopefully he can continue that coming into next season.”
“[Nick’s] a big, strong kid with a heck of a shot. He uses his size very well. One of the goals that was scored today, he was right in front of the net. He knows where to go and what do to. Moving forward, he needs to continue getting bigger, stronger and in better shape in order to play at the National Hockey League level.”
About the Ducks Prospect Development Camp
The six-day camp focuses on both the on- and off-ice development of the organization’s top young prospects. In addition to on-ice skating sessions, each player will participate in strength and conditioning drills that allow coaches and management to closely evaluate the progress of each athlete. Along with daily weight and aerobic training, each player will also receive a personally tailored nutritional recommendation and be tested for strength thresholds, range of movement and aerobic capacity.
NOTE: The final scrimmage is scheduled for Monday, July 7 at 10:30 a.m. The hour-long session is open to the public and will be subject to change; visit AnaheimDucks.com for updates.