CALGARY, AB -- Through power skating, social media mentoring, a cooking class, and skill development sessions, there was plenty for players to absorb at the four-day development camp hosted by the Calgary Flames.
There was plenty to be excited about for coaches and management, too.
But slow down.
It is hockey in July, after all.
“I’m always cautious of hockey in July,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving started.
“You don’t get too high or too low by any stretch, but I thought overall it was very competitive. This isn’t about winning or losing out here right now. It’s about skill development. It’s about learning. It’s about giving them information for the rest of their summers.”
In all, 37 players participated in the camp at Joan Snyder Arena at Canada Olympic Park’s WinSport facility, not including injured forwards Andrew Mangiapane and Daniel Pribyl, who participated in off-ice activities. Ten of the 37 participants were invited on try-out agreements.
The four-day camp was capped with a scrimmage and power skate Thursday.
“I thought it was a good end to the camp,” Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. “You want to make sure at this time of the year everybody gets through healthy because these young guys have a lot of training left to do. These are big summers for the young players. You want to make sure they get out of here, they learn something, and they’re healthy.”
Team McDonald beat Team Nieuwendyk 6-1 in the exhibition.
The game, split into 5-on-5, 4-on-4, and 3-on-3 segments over two 30-minute, straight-time halves, wasn’t used as an evaluation tool as much as an identification tool.
“I try not to evaluate this time of year,” Gulutzan said. “You look a little bit, but you look at the details … their skating and their puck skill and we’re looking at their conditioning. Some of these guys have only skated once or twice before they’ve come in. I try to reserve as a coach … it can be dangerous for a coach to start evaluating now.
“When they get their full summer of training and they start to ramp up their every day skating before camp, we’ll evaluate in September. It’s good to get a look and get to meet the kids.”
It didn’t stop some from standing out.
But, as Treliving cautioned, the real evaluation comes in September.
“These are competitive guys,” Treliving said. “You put them in competitive environments.
“I thought there were some guys who stood out. I thought there were no real disappointments. You have to be careful of leaving here all jacked up about somebody and down in the dumps. It’s July. I thought the camp went good. I think there was really good information. It’s a good group of kids. Now they got on their way for the summer and some will be back in September.
“That’s when the real stuff starts.”