Hockey runs in the Capuano family.
For camp invite Max Capuano, nephew of Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, this week’s mini-camp is all about excitement and learning how the system works. Having grown up playing hockey in Rhode Island and spending last season with the Walpole Express of the Atlantic Junior Hockey League, Max is thrilled for this opportunity. Not only is he attending an NHL mini-camp, but it’s for his uncle’s team.
“It’s great that he coaches here and I’m really excited to be here,” Max said. “He’s a great guy and everyone I know that’s ever played for him has loved him as a coach.”
Max has had the chance to play for his uncle at a few USA hockey development camps, but said this experience will definitely top those previous camps.
|Max Capuano #6 of the New York Islanders battles for the puck with Johan Sundstrom #28 at the prospects evaluation camp at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on July 13, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) |
“This is a great opportunity for me,” Max said. “I’m obviously just excited to be here and check everything out. It will be good to see what it takes to play at this level.”
He added, “Plus, it’s pretty cool that he coaches here. I’ve become an Islanders fan. I watched them all last season, so to be here, it’s just great.”
The Isles coach remembers coaching his nephew at the development camps and has seen great improvements in Max’s game, adding that Max needs to take the opportunity given to him at camp this week and show his skill set so he can improve his game further.
“He has worked hard to get to where he’s had to be, just like a lot of these players here,” Coach Capuano said. “This is a great chance for him to come in. It’s a measuring tool for him on where he needs to take the next step.”
Max, who did not play during the 2009-10 season, tallied 33 goals and 50 assists in 43 games during his first season with Walpole last season.
“Last year went pretty well,” he said. “I missed the entire season before and didn’t even play anywhere. To come back and play felt good, and we won the league, so it was definitely a good season.”
Following his best junior season to date, his uncle couldn’t help but mention a resemblance.
Max is one of those guys, a little bit like my brother I would say. He’s not a great skater, but from the hash marks in, he’s got tremendous hands and he’s scored a lot of goals at whatever level he’s played at. - Jack Capuano, Islanders Head Coach
“Max is one of those guys, a little bit like my brother I would say,” Coach Capuano said. “He’s not a great skater, but from the hash marks in, he’s got tremendous hands and he’s scored a lot of goals at whatever level he’s played at.”
That brother he referenced was his younger brother and Max’s father, Dave Capuano, who went on to play in 104 NHL games with four different teams. He recorded 55 points.
The younger Capuano is hoping to someday follow in his father’s footsteps, but right now, he’s just looking forward to spending the week with his uncle.
“I’m really looking forward to the (scrimmage) game Saturday,” Max said. “I have a lot of family and friends coming to see so it’ll be a lot of fun. Right now, I just need to put myself where need I to be. School is a big thing, so I’d probably like to play in college.”
Maybe after college, he’ll get the chance to play in the NHL like his dad, or even better, for his uncle – wearing an Isles uniform.