Throughout the 2019 Development Camp, Winnipeg Jets prospect Nathan Smith will provide an exclusive look behind the scenes at his experience. Nathan was drafted by the Jets in the third round with the 91st overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. He recently finished up his second successful season with Cedar Rapids Rough Riders of the USHL and is committed to play in the NCAA with the Minnesota State (Mankato) Mavericks next season.
Of all the things we learn at development camp, I think some of the most important stuff came on Thursday.
On the ice, our groups - that used to be separated by forwards and defencemen - were combined. With both the forwards and the D on the ice, we worked on battle drills in the corner. The forwards had to focus on good sticks (same with the D) as well as cutbacks out of the corner to try and get to the net. That ice session was a lot of fun.
After that, we went to Camp Manitou, which isn't too far away from where we're skating. Our afternoon began with a mental wellness seminar. We had a really open discussion about mental health, depression, and having the courage to speak out and know that people are there for us.
I think it was a really important seminar to do because there are a lot of people who struggle and suffer from that but don't speak out because they could be embarrassed or think people will look at them differently. It was kind of emotional yesterday, but definitely an important seminar.
We also talked about stress for us as people and as players. We learned how to cope with that stress and things we can to do fix it, or people to talk to. All around, it was a really good afternoon.
At the end of it all, we had a really good dinner there - pulled pork, mashed potatoes, different kinds of salads, baked beans… it was awesome.
Friday is the final day of camp and it's going to be Team Blue versus Team White in a controlled scrimmage. We can't wait to put everything we've learned on the ice to use!