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Keenan eyes up future Flames at development camp

by Miranda Baker / Calgary Flames

Flames head coach Mike Keenan is busy getting his feet wet this week at the Calgary Flames annual development camp at the Don Hartman North East Sportsplex.

Prospects attend development camp

He's getting to know his coaching staff, but more importantly he's eyeing up potential suitors for this year's lineup and seeing what some of the American Hockey League players have to offer.

"I think these camps serve the kids well," said Keenan. "They come away better prepared to be a professional, and that's the most important message they'll get this week."

For those players who were recently drafted or have yet to attend a Flames camp, it's a chance for coaching staff to introduce players to the organization. For others, it's an opportunity for them to shake off the rust and continue their development towards reaching their NHL potential.

"You can see that they have a lot of enthusiasm, and they're youngsters that are excited about being here," added Keenan.

It also gives Keenan a chance to see what strides his team has to make in the off-season if they want a taste of the coveted Stanley Cup in the near future.

"I get a feel for it, build some knowledge of the organization in regards to strengths and weaknesses and see what we have to work with in the future," said Keenan.

According to Keenan, one of the most important parts of development camp is teaching players what it takes to play professional hockey. It's not all about one's skill, but the attitude and how you approach the game.

"The message for them is to learn more about what it takes to be a professional and what the requirements are from that point of view," said Keenan.

"That's just a small part of this development camp, but certainly an important part for youngsters particularly when they come out of a setting where they haven't had that emphasis or they don't understand it."

And when they do, they better appreciate their own abilities and they can develop those abilities to a higher level."

Keenan was named the Calgary Flames' 13th head coach on June 14, replacing Jim Playfair, who coached during the 2006-07 season.

In 18 years behind the bench at the NHL level, Keenan has led his teams to the finals four times and captured the Stanley Cup in 1994 with the New York Rangers.

The native of Bowmanville, ON has won three President's Trophies, six division titles, three All-Star Games, recorded three 50 plus win seasons and five 100 plus point seasons. He also led Team Canada to two Canada Cup titles as head coach of Canada's National Team in 1987 and 1991.

The Calgary Flames development camp runs thru Saturday, July 21st at the Don Hartman North East Sportsplex. All on-ice sessions are open to the public.

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