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Canadian players take a turn with kids

by Adam Kimelman /

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The players who won't be part of Canada's lineup Wednesday against Finland skated after the main group, then got a bit of extra time after their session ended.

A youth hockey camp was booked on the ice at Herb Brooks Arena, but coach Brent Sutter wasn't quite ready to leave -- so he kept his whistle at the ready and got his players in line for drills with the kids.

"Coach Brent said practice was over and we were getting pucks," center Bo Horvat said. "They told us that we could stay out and go over the warmups and run a few drills. It was pretty exciting for us. Brought back a lot of memories and was fun."

The Canadian juniors mixed seamlessly with the youngsters, who appeared to range in age from 10 to 12. One player from Canada fit a little too well with the kids -- 16-year-old Connor McDavid.

"We were all teasing him out there, saying he was pretty close to their age," Horvat said. "He had the cage on like them, stuff like that."

Horvat said McDavid was a good sport about it, and said all the players had fun, as did Sutter.

"It was fun," Sutter said. "We talked about it. Scotty Salmond [Hockey Canada senior director of national teams and hockey operations] came out and asked if we could do it and I said absolutely. It's good. It's great. … It was funny -- their coach lives in the Chicago area, wasn't too far from the subdivision that I lived in when I was in Chicago, so it's a small world."

It also was something different for the players that would make their time in camp enjoyable, which Sutter believes will be a key element in building a solid team.

"It's been a good three days," he said. "You can just see how the kids are starting to adapt and adjust to each other and starting to form some kind of chemistry and camaraderie. It's good. That's our responsibility as coaches that they can have that. We want to come here, do things the right way, make sure we're working and getting what we need to get out of this, but at the same time the kids need to enjoy this experience."


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