The NHL Draft traditionally turns the page toward the upcoming season, but for the Sharks the first on ice activities are taking place at Sharks Ice with their annual summer development camp.
Players skating during this week are Sharks property and hope to be starting the long process of making the NHL some day.
“This is always an exciting time since these players bring the exuberance of youth,” said Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson. “In many ways, it’s the start of the next season.”
Most of the players arrived on Monday with many having long travel days.
“Everyone got in yesterday,” said Frazer McLaren (2007 7th round pick). “I got in at 11 a.m. and some got in at 11 at night.”
The development camp is not the place to showcase one’s talents, but rather to work on a player’s weaknesses, which explains why the team conducts these sessions in a controlled, closed environment.
“They focus a lot on the development skills and what the Sharks use in games and practices,” said McLaren.
“They tell you to go outside your comfort zone,” said Mike Moore
, (2008 free agent signee) strong camp last year.
For players like McLaren, the camp is a little simpler as their familiarity makes them a bit more comfortable.
“It’s a little easier knowing what to expect,” said McLaren. “The first day is harder with the skating tempo. I’ve skated five or six times earlier this summer, but it’s hard to find this kind of tempo.”
“I’m a little more comfortable,” said Jason Demers
. “I was a lot more nervous last year. I appreciate being here and learning new things. Just before I came out I played in a shinny tournament, figuring I would get a few hours on the ice under my belt.”
For Moore, the difficult part of the first day was trying to track down his (2008 7th round pick) equipment which didn’t arrive on his flight.
“It was an interesting first day,” said Moore. “My gear is still not here. I borrowed a second pair of skates form Samuel Groulx. They fit fairly well. There was no way I was not getting on the afternoon ice.”
While there is no way to replicate the speed of professional hockey players at the local rink, just about everyone player in camp is at their physical peak with regards to their off-ice conditioning.
“I’ve been training back home with Doug Crashley – Crash Conditioning,” said Moore. “We have a good group. He incorporates anything (Sharks strength and conditioning coordinator) Mike Potenza gives us. He really pushes us.”
This week the players are pushing themselves to improve on their weaknesses and thus maybe give themselves a leg up when training camp opens in September.