PART 3: KING OF THE COURTS
The third and final leg of the Trial on the Isle competition wrapped up on the same beach the day began on, the sandy courts on 96th street.
After eight games in a round robin tournament, playing on eight different courts set up by East Coast Volleyball, the goaltending tandem of Merrick Madsen and Matej Tomek took home the trophy in the championship game.
Madsen and Tomek were joined by fans, who signed up and made a donation to be entered alongside the prospects in the tournament.
As the the day of volleyball action itself, 2016 draft pick Carsen Twarynski was excited just to hit the courts and interact with the fans.
“Some of the events have been a lot of hard work, especially the swimming events, but for me it’s definitely the volleyball tournament that has been my favorite part,” added Twarynski, who was paired with Samuel Dove-McFalls. “The courts and the set up here are unbelievable. It’s not what I pictured, I pictured only a few courts and rotating in and out, but this is over the top and they out-did themselves.”
The end of the day also marks the actual end of camp and one thing all the prospect agree that they can take away from this experience is that it was a great way to finish off the week and form a closer bond with their new teammates.
“After a week of going hard and really locking it in, it’s nice to be able to relax and enjoy the weather and catch a little bit of rays,” said goaltender Alex Lyon. “It’s very competitive for sure… Everybody kind of drops the barrier a little bit and you get to know guys more on a personal level and its cool to see guys in this element because it’s different for sure.”
PART 2: WHAT DAY TO PLAY AT THE BAY
The prospects didn’t get much of a rest from their beach duties before heading to the bay for the second part of today’s events.
And if they knew what to expect from previous years, they were thrown for a loop when the games were completely switched up.
The prospects went through more than double the amount of games they have done in year’s past. From shooting hoops in the water into a floating basket, chipping golf shots from the dock, diving in for a quick sprint swim in the water to pedaling on a bicycle kayak, the competition ended forcing the players to use engineering skills to build rafts from inner tubes and duct tape.
“It was really fun that we did a lot of sports oriented things and it was cool to see all the different aspects of athleticism of the guys,” said Merrick Madsen. “I did the swimming part, and I thought I was doing well, but then I got tackled by Goulbourne which wasn’t very nice because I ended up at the back of pack.”
For Pascal Laberge, who is going through his first “Trial”, the day is about what he expected with the sun and the sand. What he notices the most isn’t the amount of work they are putting in or the fun being around the other prospects, it’s the fans coming out to witness it first hand.
“It just shows how great the fans here in Philadelphia are,” added Laberge. “Them coming out like this, they’re so proud of us and it’s fun for us to give them our autograph and see them happy.”
The day is far from over. After the autograph signings, the biggest competition of the day will take place - Volleyball!
The prospects are directly paired up with the fans for this one. Half of the team will be filled by any fan, business or even families who sent in applications and made a donation to the American Legion Department of New Jersey to benefit Veterans Haven South for temporary housing and services for veterans.
The games start approximately 3:45 on the 96th street beach and the teams are as follows:
PART 1: LIFE'S A BEACH
The prospects arrived a little after 8:15 am at the 96th street firehouse station in Stone Harbor, and after a brief instructions, meet & greet with the fans and local military veteran group, they headed to the beach for the first two competitions.
Just before walking down however, an unexpected moment took place. The players and staff figured out it is Sam Morin's birthday today (Happy 21st, Sam) and decided to break out in song to wish him well.
“Yeah it’s my birthday and I didn’t even know they were going to do that,” said Morin. “It’s pretty nice coming from them. I think we have a great group of guys here today and it was really fun that they would do that for a teammate.”
Off to the beach, the prospects did a walk out into the water with arms locked and then separated into teams. The first event saw the teams build a sand sculpture by the water and all agreed that Team Ivan took home the fan vote for their tribute to the Veterans.
“We all came up with it together. I don’t think our sculpting skills were very good, but we wanted to give a shout out to the veteran’s here,” said defenseman Mark Friedman. “It’s a big day for them and we’re donating all that money [from the ice cream cart race] to a good cause.”
Prospects then had to test their business skills and grab an ice cream cart, run up-and-down the beach, and sell ice cream to the fans following them throughout.
The team that brings in the most money takes the second beach competition which is added to the total points throughout the day. Tyrell Goulbourne was a part of the winning team, and competing in his fourth camp, that certainly was new experience for him.
“We only had to sell 10, so we sold that early and then just ran the rest of the course,” said Goulbourne, who was the leader with Alex Lyon, Matej Tomek, Pascal Laberge and Radel Fazleev. “We probably could have sold more, but there was a lot left over for us to eat.”
A lot of pictures and a lot more autographs later, the prospects finished up on the beach and headed to the Yacht Club for the second leg of the competition on the bay. Results coming later…