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Hawryluk Lends a Hand at Panthers IceDen Summer Hockey Camp

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop /

Hawryluk Hockey Camp

Hawryluk Hockey Camp

Forward Jayce Hawryluk pays a visit to the Panthers Ice Den to help hockey campers improve their skills on the ice

  • 01:30 •

Jayce Hawryluk never had an opportunity like this when he was learning how to play hockey.

Serving as a guest instructor during the Panthers IceDen Summer Hockey Camp back in June, the Florida Panthers winger was reminded of just how different his own camp experiences were as a child growing up in the small town of Roblin, Manitoba, which has a population that hovers around only 2,000.

"There wasn't really anyone around that was doing that type of stuff," Hawryluk said. "The game's changed; everything's changed. I went to camps, but we never had any NHL or AHL guys stop by. You always had those instructors, though. They were the ones you'd look up to and try and imitate."

Fresh off his first NHL season, Hawryluk was happy to be one of "those instructors" at the annual camp.

Lacing up his skates and taking the ice at the team's practice facility for the first time since the season ended in April, the 23-year-old worked the entire four-day clinic, which ran from June 18-21. Taking the ice each morning, he worked directly with kids ages 8-17, teaching them the finer points of the sport.

"It means a lot," Hawryluk said of the opportunity to give back. "I'm always excited to come out and help kids try and learn the game and get better at the game. They're showing up here at 7, 8 a.m., trying to get better and be like us one day. They look up to us, so anything can do to help out, I'm going to."

Hawryluk said he was impressed with the passion of his students and how excited they were to learn.

"It's been incredible," Hawryluk said. "They're eager to learn, eager to get better and enjoying their time here."

When asked what the biggest piece of advice was that he imparted on the camp's many aspiring hockey players, Hawryluk said he made sure to tell every kid out there to simply "enjoy it" and always have fun.

"When I was 5 or 6, I just remember falling all over the ice, but I loved it," Hawryluk said. "You can tell with the smiles on their faces out there that they don't care, they're just really happy to be there."

Video: FLA@CHI: Hawryluk gets around Ward for first NHL goal

In an effort to continue creating future hockey players and fans, the organization's "Learn to Skate" and "Learn to Play" programs have also been a massive hit among both kids and adults looking to pick up the sport after watching all of the action at BB&T Center.

"You can already see the growth in the game," said Hawryluk, a second-round draft pick in 2014. "It's incredible. We're at the forefront of the guys that are going to help grow the game. They're all great with it, helping out in the community and trying to get kids to games."

Speaking of games, Hawryluk, who posted seven goals and five assists in 42 games as a rookie during the 2018-19 campaign, said being back in Broward County left him itching for the upcoming season to start.

"I'm super eager to get back going," Hawryluk said. "I never enjoy a long offseason. I always want to be playing. Being here, it means we're one step closer to the season getting going. I'm looking forward to it."

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