On the second day of the Carolina Hurricanes’ annual Prospects Development Camp, the group stepped away from the ice for some team-building activities at a ropes course at Fred G. Bond Metro Park in Cary.
After receiving instructions, gearing up and working their way through a basic, near-ground rope course, the players faced the task of navigating through the challenge course, perched high in the treetops.
It was an activity that was a first for a number of players.
“No, [I’ve done] nothing remotely like this,” defenseman Haydn Fleury said with a smile, having just finished the course. “This is something you kind of do once and never really get on it again. But it was fun.”
“No, [I’ve not done anything] like this,” said defenseman Jaccob Slavin, a fourth-round pick in 2012. “It was fun.”
“No, I haven’t [done this]. This was my first time,” said defenseman Josh Wesley. “Before, I was pretty nervous, but as soon as I got up there, it was absolutely awesome.”
The prospects began the challenge course by climbing a rope ladder with round, wooden planks. From there, in park’s forest canopy, they maneuvered their way across a round, wooden log, a wooden rope bridge, various thin ropes and a knotted rope swing back to the starting platform before zip-lining down to the ground.
The most difficult part of the course featured two intersecting ropes that required the players to shift their balance from one to the other in order to get from platform to platform.
“That was the hardest,” Fleury said. “I just held onto my rope and climbed.”
“You have to transfer your body weight to the different ropes, so that was pretty difficult,” Wesley said. “Everything was a lot of fun, and I’d love to do it again.”
And the most fun aspect of the course? The zip line, for sure, evident by the whoops and hollers that were heard as the players whizzed back to the ground.
“That was something that was cool,” Fleury said. “You don’t get to go zip-lining every day.”
Strategy to complete the course was pretty basic: balance, hold on tight and don’t fall. (And, of course, be safe and have fun.)
“It was tough keeping my balance. I just didn’t want to fall and have the boys start making fun of me, so I tried to keep a level head and go through it,” said goaltender Daniel Altshuller, the guinea pig of the bunch. “I like going first because I didn’t have to wait for anyone. I could just go at my own pace.”
“I think you just want to go first and get it over with,” Fleury said. “The more guys watched, the more pulled out, so it was better to just get it over with first.”
But the guys who did climb later in the group at least had the advantage of observing best practices.
“You get to see what works and what doesn’t work,” Slavin said.
“I watched a couple of them, but I just wanted to go up there and trust my teammates,” Wesley said.
And in the end, that’s what the ropes course exercise was driving toward: stimulating teamwork, building cooperation and instilling trust.
“You get to hang out with the guys and have an experience together,” Altshuller said. “It brings everybody closer.”
“It’s good to just get out and start meeting the guys more,” Fleury said. “You get on the rink and you’re focused about what you’re doing on the ice. But you come out here and have fun, meet the guys and talk about where they live, play and how they got to Carolina.”
“It kind of brings out the guys true emotions here,” Slavin said. “You get to see what they’re like in this kind of atmosphere. It’s different than being on the ice.”
“It gets your mind off hockey, and you need to do that sometimes,” Wesley said. “It’s better for you because once you come back to the rink, you focus more on it and you’re fighting as hard on the ice as you were out here.”
On the docket for Wednesday are two on-ice sessions. The morning skate is closed to the public, but CarolinaHurricanes.com and our official mobile app will have exclusive live streaming coverage hosted by Amber Jaye.
The evening session, which is split into two power skating groups, is open to the general public. A full schedule for the week and additional information is available here.