The first official Jets' Development Camp opened bright and early Monday July 9th, at the MTS Centre. 38 players have been arriving in Winnipeg over the last couple of days to take part in this mid-summer camp.
"There are three components to it," said Coordinator of Player Development, Jimmy Roy. "For us to learn a little bit about them, for them to learn a little bit about us and an opportunity to teach them some things that we think are important in the game, outside of the game- the off-ice component. It's also about getting them to a camp, getting them to Winnipeg, getting them comfortable around the Winnipeg Jets and getting to know the organization."
The development camp roster consists of 10 St. John's IceCaps players, 8 from NCAA, 6 WHL, 7 OHL, and 1 ECHL player. 27 of the players are draft choices and two of those are first rounders (Scheifele and Trouba)
Day one kicked off with physicals and a handful of tests similar to what the prospects endure at the NHL Combine to see where they are at physically.
Next on the agenda the players had a 45 minute session on Media Training to learn a little bit about how to handle the media on a daily basis as a professional hockey player.
The first on-ice session began just after 2:00pm at the MTS IcePlex. The turnout of Jets fans was incredible. North of 500 fans filled the stands at the MTS IcePlex to get their sneak peek of what the future holds for the Winnipeg Jets.
The media zoomed in quickly on the first round draft picks from 2011 and 2012, familiar face Mark Scheifele, and new face, Jacob Trouba.
Scheifele was drafted 7th overall, at the 2011 NHL Draft. He is coming off of a whirlwind season playing seven games with the Winnipeg Jets to start the season, followed by 60 games for the Barrie Colts (OHL) including 13 playoff games followed by 10 games on the Rock with The St.John's IceCaps in their AHL Championship run. This year being his second time around, he said he's feeling much more comfortable and confident. He has gained 15 pounds since he was last in Winnipeg, which was last fall.
"There's been a lot of ups and downs but I think I definitely worked on my all-around game, being a good offensive player but also being a good defensive player" said Scheifele of his busy season. "In Barrie I got a good opportunity to play on the penalty kill and on the power play and taking key face-offs. I definitely learned how to be a key player on the team."
Ivan Telegin, Scheifele's teammate on the Barrie Colts unfortunately will not be skating this week due to a hand injury. The 20-year old from Novokuznetsk, Russia, is coming off of a 64 point season (35g, 29a) with a plus-19 in 46 games. Both he and Scheifele donned their countries jerseys at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Alberta this past winter.
Trouba, the Jets' first round pick, (9th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft is going through the same emotions as Scheifele had just one year ago. He spoke to media with confidence this afternoon about just taking it all in and having fun, after being selected by the Jets only a couple weeks ago. The Rochester, Mich. native has been playing for the US National Development Program and is set to begin the next chapter with the University of Michigan playing for the Michigan Wolverines next season.
"It was fun, a little nerve wracking at the beginning," blushed Trouba after his first practice in a Jets uniform."I think I got the hang of it and just went out there and played, it was fun. It was cool to come out here and see the amount of people who come out to support their team."
His focus is on learning from the camp and taking away as much as possible as he moves closer to next season.
"I just want to have fun, see the city, see the rink and be around these guys and try to learn something, that's why I'm here. Just to get better as a player and get used to the Jets organization."
Monday was just the beginning..there are four more days to see what these young prospects can do and show to the management and fans the future of the Winnipeg Jets. Check back tomorrow as we provide updates, interviews and stories from the 2012 Development Camp.