They come from all over - different countries, different backgrounds, and different skill sets - but share a common goal.
Nashville Predators Development Camp commenced on Monday in the Music City with attendees - drafted, signed or invited - all converging for a week of on-ice sessions, off-ice training and community activities that will help mold them into kind of player and person necessary to compete at the National Hockey League level.
It won't happen for all of them, but many who are participating this week will one day find themselves skating in the pro ranks, if they're not already. And that's exactly what Scott Nichol wants for them.
Nashville's Director of Player Development, Nichol - a former Pred himself - runs the camp with help from Preds Assistant Director of Player Development Wade Redden with a goal of providing the players with as much as they can over the course of the week to better themselves in all aspects.
"I love Development Camp because we have all our prospects, from Russia to Sweden to Finland, guys who play in the Quebec League, all our college guys, we get them under our roof," Nichol said. "These kids get to know each other, they follow each other all the way through the year and that's the culture that we want… to have that family, close-knit environment, and it shows on the ice."
That culture is something Nichol and others in the organization refer to as "The Predator Way." It's a mantra of how the Predators want their players to conduct themselves on the ice and off, and that training starts as soon as an individual joins the organization.
"Just the culture we have, you just want to never quit, be a good teammate, work hard, have confidence, and you can build off that," Nichol said. "You look at all the guys in the NHL that I played with, the superstars to the fourth-liners, they're good people. They treat people right and that's how we want to build it."
Many of the players attending camp, including 2017 first-round pick Eeli Tolvanen, realized that the skill level from each of the participants is higher than most, and that pushes everyone around them to be even better. It was a fact Nichol and Redden used in their opening message to the group on Monday.
"We have first-round draft pick with Tolvanen and with [defenseman] Jacob Paquette, he's the second to last pick in [the 2017 Draft], and they're all in the same room," Nichol said. "They're here. They're in a National Hockey League development camp, so everyone's path is different. There's not a book that says this is what you're going to do, this is how you're going to make it, and that's what I love about development camp.
As the group embarks on a week filled with everything from on-ice practices to cooking classes, community hospital visits to a Future Stars Game at Bridgestone Arena, they'll be tested physically and mentally as those in charge look for the qualities they might want on the Preds one day.
"It's an evaluation camp, it's to see where they are, get some numbers on them and it's a good thing," Nichol said. "In three or four years, you want to develop these guys so when Nashville needs them, they're ready to go."