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de Haan Picking up the Pace for Mini-Camp III

by David Hochman / New York Islanders
Two years ago in his first Islanders Mini-Camp, defenseman Calvin de Haan found out the game was much quicker than junior hockey and the players were bigger and stronger. Now, in his third go-round, de Haan believes he’s become one of those bigger, stronger players and can set that pace on the ice.

“The type of training I’ve done this summer is a lot different than what I’ve been used to – my weight’s stayed the same, but I’ve changed my body fat to muscle,” de Haan said. “It’s a good trade off. I feel a lot faster. Even when I just play in the summer league back home, I feel I have to work less to get to a certain speed on the ice.”

After the first day of on-ice drills, it was evident that de Haan’s speed and newfound muscle came primarily from his legs. de Haan even noted that Islanders Strength and Conditioning Coach Jesse Demers noticed the physical changes.

Islanders prospect Calvin de Haan takes a knee and during an on-ice session of Islanders Mini-Camp at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday, July 13, 2011.
“Leg power and speed were very important to me to work on,” de Haan said. “I feel like a lot of the training I do back home focuses on that. We train movements and work on a lot of hockey-specific type exercises.”

Those training sessions in Kanata, ON aren’t simply teaching de Haan what to train, but how to train, too. One of the mainstays he works out with is Claude Giroux, who enjoyed a breakout 2010-11 season with the Philadelphia Flyers. Trying to keep up with a player of that caliber has also taught de Haan a lot and he’s bringing that education to camp this week.

“Giroux works pretty hard in the gym,” de Haan said. “lt’s actually pretty incredible to see. Seeing his work ethic is definitely something you learn from. It’s hard enough to keep up with a player like that off the ice, so you know how difficult it is to keep up on the ice.”

Even though he’s learned a lot about the physical demands and needs coming in to camp, he’s also learned plenty about off-ice necessities. It wasn’t too long ago de Haan was one of these 18-year-olds that was unsure of what to expect, but two years after being drafted, he knows how to help the youngsters.

“I think being friendly and welcoming with the new guys means a lot at camp,” he said. “I remember when I first got here, everyone was great to me. The guys I hung out with in my first camp are some of my best buddies now. I want it to be that way for the younger guys now.”

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