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Well, after three flights and two layovers I made it to Victoria yesterday afternoon, and thankfully my suitcase arrived last night!
Bear Mountain Resort, the camp's headquarters, is amazing, though there's still a lot of construction going on. The view of the Island out the back of the main hotel lodge makes it clear why Len Barrie chose the location for his development. The Lightning have basically taken over the resort for the camp, though the Premier of British Columbia popped in by helicopter this afternoon for a golf tournament.
The 30 prospects in town for the camp gathered for a meeting at the hotel this morning before heading over to the arena. Today's schedule included a dynamic warm-up session with a strength coach and skating coach before hitting the ice with Lightning assistant coaches Rick Tocchet, Cap Raeder and Wes Walz leading the workout along with Norfolk coaches Darren Rumble and Alan May. Goaltender Riku Helenius
seemed to be frustrating most of the shooters at one end, but it was Steven Stamkos
who had the crowd's attention most of the time. Another who stood out to me was Ty Wishart, who is a big boy who likes to play physical. He rocked a few guys in the corners when the contact drills started.
I had a chance to chat with David Carle, younger brother of Lightning defenseman Matt Carle and a seventh-round Tampa Bay draft choice. Carle, who has a heart ailment that ended his career the week before the draft, is in attendance at the camp to get to know everyone in the organization and to hang out with the players. He strikes me as a very down-to-earth kid who has been forced to face a diificult situation. He was gracious with all of the Canadian media who wanted to hear his story.
After practice it was off to a team lunch on the patio of Jack's Place at the resort, followed by an off-ice workout for the team at the hotel. Tommorrow there will be a practice in the morning, an afternoon press conference with Stamkos and an evening scrimmage (9 p.m. ET). I'll provide an update after.