STONE HARBOR, N.J.
|Marshall competing in the Paddle Board event of the competition. CLICK ON PHOTO to open up a complete gallery. |
-- Kevin Marshall is no stranger to the New Jersey beach town of Stone Harbor, where the Flyers host a yearly event known as the "Trial on the Isle," as part of their week-long player development camp.
This is Marshall's fourth camp since the team selected him in the second round of the 2007 Entry Draft, and while he's progressed up the organizational ladder, there's one thing he hasn't done -- win the Trial on the Isle.
This year's mini-triathlon was held Friday on the town's streets and beaches, and consisted of a three-mile bike race, a 400-yard paddleboat race, and a 1 1/4-mile run, with each member of the three-man team competing in one event.
And for the first time, Marshall's team -- which included 2011 fourth-round draft pick Marcel Noebels and camp invitee Kyle Mountain -- emerged victorious.
"After a couple of these camps it feels good to finish it off," Marshall told NHL.com. "I'm not sure if it's the last one (prospect camp) for me, but to get a win … I had really good teammates with me -- a good biker, a good runner, and a good finish."
Noebels led off on the bike leg, Marshall went second on the paddleboats, and Mountain ran the last leg for the victory.
For Noebels, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound center who had 28 goals and 26 assists in 66 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League last season, bike racing is nothing new. It's something he did with friends growing up in Toenisvorst, Germany.
"I like to ride the bike," he told NHL.com. "I did it all the time in Germany, same kind of competition. It's kind of fun for team building. And we won, so that's pretty good."
There's no significant "prize" for them winning the Trial, but the victorious team will have a permanent place in team history.
"What we do is we bring our prospects in, we bring our AHL players in, and we work them hard but there has to be some time to blow off some steam. The people of Stone Harbor have been gracious enough, from the public works to the police department, everybody welcomes us with open arms." - Jim McCrossin
"The biggest thing is they get their name up in the weight room," Flyers trainer Jim McCrossin told NHL.com. "That will live for eternity. As long as we're around the names will be printed up there. I think it's cool because I was a past winner, and to go up there and see your name up there is pretty good."
Marshall had 14 points in 78 games with the Adirondack Phantoms of the American Hockey League, his second professional season, and is about to enter his fifth season as a member of the organization.
"I got drafted in '07, and every time I go up there I see names, and finally I get mine up there," he said. "It's fun and it's cool. It goes in a progression of being a Flyer."
Part of the progression Friday included lunch and an autograph session with fans at Stone Harbor Elementary School, and a softball game against the Stone Harbor Stars. There also were Flyers T-shirts, hats and other items for fans to purchase, and all money raised from the autograph session and admission to the softball game goes to Flyers Charities.
However, a sizable amount is given to American Legion Post 331 in Stone Harbor, which distributes the money to families of fallen veterans -- a cause especially close to McCrossin, a Stone Harbor native who organizes the Trial. McCrossin takes an active role in supporting the military, including putting together care packages for soldiers overseas -- one of whom is former Flyers prospect Ben Stafford, a marine who has served in Iraq.
"Kevin Coyle, who's the commander of the post, makes sure (the money) gets to a family in need," McCrossin told NHL.com. "A loved one has been lost in Afghanistan or Iraq and the family is without an income. There's many families in need and we're just doing our part to support our veterans."
The day in Stone Harbor clearly is one of McCrossin's favorite days of the year, and the players get to enjoy the hospitality of the fans and the town.
"They work hard at this conditioning camp," McCrossin said. "What we do is we bring our prospects in, we bring our AHL players in, and we work them hard but there has to be some time to blow off some steam. And what better place to blow off some steam than the Jersey Shore, and my hometown, Stone Harbor? The people of Stone Harbor have been gracious enough, from the public works to the police department -- everybody welcomes us with open arms."
This is about the only bit of relaxation they'll get during the camp, which started July 6 and runs through July 11.
"Today is a day to blow off some steam, finish the event and meet the fans," McCrossin said. "Tomorrow we go back to work."
Especially Marshall, who is ready to make the next step in his career progression. Part of that involves finding himself on the wall in the weight room for a different reason than winning a prospect camp event.
"Hopefully you get your face in the team picture that's up there, too," he said. "That would be cool."