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DRAFTEES ARRIVE FOR CONDITIONING CAMP

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

“I think we’re all going to come out with a better understanding of the workout program that Pete is providing for us - what it will take physically to play in the National Hockey League and what his program can do for us to help us get there.”

- Rob Zepp, goaltender

RALEIGH (July 31, 2001) -- This week, the Entertainment and Sports Arena is playing host to Canes Summer Youth Hockey Camp. It’s also the Carolina Hurricanes’ 2001 draftees’ first visit to Raleigh.

The young players will attend Head Athletic Therapist/Strength and Conditioning Coach Pete Friesen’s rookie conditioning camp today through Sunday.

“We want to send a common message – the Hurricanes in general,” said Friesen. “What can they expect? I hope a whole lot of learning. Learning about what we feel makes a great hockey player. Not so much in skill – they’ve been drafted; they’re skilled people – but work ethic and all of the other tangents that make a great hockey player.”

Friesen does not look at these players’ performance in terms of goals and assists but rather players’ work ethics and disciplines.

“What I’m focusing on right now – I have a quote on their t-shirts - called ‘Tools of the Trade,’” said Friesen. “A lot of times you think of equipment - pucks and sticks and stuff – as tools, but what I see as tools – the most important tools of a hockey player – is to have discipline. We try to look to people like Brind’Amour – he’s the epitome of discipline. We want them to have grit and to show them what it takes to be a hockey player.

“It’s good to come down here and get your foot in the door and get a feel for things. I want to get an idea of how they work out down here, how things work and what they expect from us.”

- Ryan Murphy, left wing

“Discipline, grit, respect, passion. We’ve all heard those words before. What I want to do is associate actions with those words. It’s going to be tough to show them all of that in four days. It’s an on-going learning process. I’ve been in this business 22 years and I’m going to try to give them some of that knowledge and also compare them to the best people that play the game - Brind’Amour, Francis, Wesley. That’s what they’re going to get out of it.”

Coach Paul Maurice emphasized that this camp is not focused on improving these players’ hockey skills but rather developing the conditioning and discipline necessary to become a professional athlete.

“This is a lot more of an education process for them,” said Maurice. “We expect them to get up to speed with Pete Friesen. This is one of their first indoctrinations into how to train as a hockey player, off-ice, at the NHL level. We’re seeing more and more of these young guys come in in great physical shape and there’s still another level. Pete Friesen’s expertise allows them to access a whole new way of training.”

During the coming four days, the group’s schedule will be demanding.

“He’ll evaluate us, assess us, see what we need to do and improve the things we do well. Just add to that a better understanding of Pete’s philosophy and get a feeling for the organization which will help us all when we come to camp.”

- Michael Zigomanis, center

“They’ll wake up for breakfast at 7 o’clock and have a light breakfast,” said Friesen. “We’ll be either in the gym or on the track at 8 o’clock in the morning and we’ll do that for about an hour-and-a-half. Then they’ll come and shower up and then have a lecture either from (Motivational Consultant) Doris Barksdale or a physical therapist or nutritionist. Then we’ll go into some instructional weight-type things – ball exercises and rollers. Then we’ll do some more physical activity, then supper and then we’ll have an ice session 7 to 8 every evening except for Thursday night. Thursday night is a social night so we’ll take them to a show or something like that.”

Friesen named Craig Adams as one of the hardest working players that has gone through his camp. Adams, a 1996 ninth-round pick played 44 games for Carolina last season following a 73-game stint during 1999-2000 with the Cincinnati Cyclones.

“What Pete is trying to get across to the guys is two things,” said Adams. “First of all, to educate them physically on the exercises and the things they should be doing that the team wants them to do. So, learning things that maybe they haven’t done before or don’t know how to do correctly. Secondly, they want to instill in them an expectation of the work ethic that the team is going to expect of them from here on in and throughout their careers.”

Friesen is entering his sixth season with the Hurricanes organization and has seen players from his camp improve and grow into first-rate NHLers.

“I hope to become a little more familiar with the team, the people around the team, the training that we’ll use next year, get to know people a little bit better and find out what the Carolina Hurricanes are all about.”

- Carter Trevisani, defenseman

“This is a starting point for them, so, if they come in and they’re out of shape, that’s fine,” said Friesen. “What I look for is progress or improvement. Every year I usually get pretty excited about an athlete that’s really impressed me. You know who it was last year? Josef Vasicek. He actually had the privilege of staying with us the whole month. His improvement in that month of August was phenomenal. The year before that, guess who it was – Craig Adams. That man, I don’t know that he’s the most gifted or skilled person, but there aren’t too many people that work as hard as him. He started out in my camp. The year before that, there’s no question, Shane Willis, Byron Richtie and Ian MacNeil. Those three people that particular year impressed me dramatically.”

Maurice agreed that Willis benefited greatly from the camp and other work with Friesen.

“All of the young players have benefited,” said Maurice. “Shane Willis would probably be the first one. He was always very committed to his body, but he would be one of the first players that came in, played in the minors and had access to Pete Friesen over a two or three-year period. Our team, every year, becomes more and more physically fit. There are fewer guys that I worry about coming into camp in what kind of shape. Shane Willis is one guys that benefited a lot from what he did with Pete.”

“We’re going to get a lot of knowledge thrown at us in these five days. I’m just going to try to take as much of it in as I can. We’ll try to work on our strengths and try to improve on our weaknesses as well.”

- Peter Reynolds, defenseman

Willis stressed that preparation for conditioning camp and rookie camp helped him through the rigors of Friesen's routines.

"The main thing that I noticed was that it was a demanding week," said Willis. "I think that some of us young guys were prepared. We knew it was going to be a tough week being one of our first NHL rookie camps. Those guys that have prepared properly and are preparing for rookie camp already will be just fine."

While Friesen will work the players hard and instruct them on a wide-variety of conditioning and nutrition topics, he knows that four days is not enough time to mold these players into NHL material.

“I’d like to make them all bigger, faster and stronger but I can’t do that or they can’t do that to themselves,” said Friesen. “It’s unfair to set too many unrealistic goals. Can you learn how to do sit-ups over the next four weeks or so, or core strengthening? I think so. As time goes on we’ll get them more individualized. Let’s get the basics down first, work on the mental things and nutrition.”

Carolina Hurricanes Website Reporter Kyle S. Hanlin can be reached at kyleh@carolinahurricanes.com.

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