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by Thomas LaRocca / Los Angeles Kings

It is a familiar concept that we have seen before.

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Average athletes being exposed to what the professionals go through. In fact there is a television program on Spike TV called “Joes vs. Pros” and who could forget the show’s predecessor, “American Gladiator,” where Turbo, Nitro et al beat up on average guys like you and me.

Along those lines, the Los Angeles Kings created a unique opportunity this past summer where fans, at any skill level, could go through what the current Los Angeles Kings are in the midst of, training camp with the Kings coaching staff.

“I think more than anything we wanted to give them an experience of some of the activities that we do with our players at an actual training camp,” Head coach Marc Crawford said. “We have great fans, we really do and we wanted to give them much more of an insight for what training camp with the LA Kings was like”

Crawford, along with Associate Coach Mike Johnston, Assistant Coach/Director of Player Development Jamie Kompon, Assistant coach Nelson Emerson, Strength and Conditioning Coach Chad Smith and Equipment Managers Darren Granger and Corey Osmak put 50 hockey enthusiasts, ranging from 16-45, through a two-day Mini-Training Camp Experience at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, the Kings practice facility.

The staff put participants through both on and off ice programs including video sessions which presented some of the systems that the Kings run, conditioning, on-ice drills, and professional development seminars on leadership and teamwork. They were also run through practices to enforce the offensive concepts they were presented with on video.

“They are learning about what we go through for every training camp that we’ve been through,” Kompon said. “Basically, the concepts of what we want to teach our guys, who we want them to play in a team atmosphere, off ice what they go through.

“We put them through all of the drills we do at training camp. We figured they could do all the drills, just at a different level.”

Steve Irwin, a youth hockey coach and one of the camp participants was picking up tips to teach his kids going forward.

“Just picking up things to reinforce with the kids I coach,” Irwin said. “Every time I come to a clinic there is always something that I pick up that reinforces my coaching.”

There was pretty much every level at the camp from beginners to advanced players even players that played college hockey or are currently playing college hockey. Most of the participants came from the California area, but some ventured from as far away as Vancouver for the camp.

Kyle Darling, from Vancouver said this about the camp: “I am picking up everything,” he said. “Off the ice, the stretching, and the dynamics stuff. Just things I wouldn’t even dream of going in the gym. On the ice, all the stuff we did today, I never did one of the drills before.

“I got a great sweat; that is why I came out here.”

A little sweat and a lot of hard work really left these 50 campers with some memories that will last a lifetime.

“The idea was to expose this to as many Kings fans as we could,” Crawford said. “Speaking to some of the guys and girls that were out there today, I do think that this will have a trickle down affect.”

Do you have an interesting local hockey story to tell? Send an email to to contact the Fan Development department and perhaps have your story told in our Local Hockey Spotlight.

The Kings Fan Development Department routinely puts on clinics, tournaments, camps, and other hockey education programs. For more information on the next Fan Development event, please visit the Local Hockey page or click here to be contacted about future events.

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