Monday, September 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

"He's on a plane every other weekend going north," said his father, Hunter. "He played 60-some games last year, and none of them were in the state of Florida."

So Hunter, 48, was impressed with what he saw at the V-Red Prospects Advanced Camp last week at the Florida Hospital Center Ice complex. Young players from around the world played intense, high-speed games overseen by coaches with professional experience.

"I've never seen this much talent in one building in the state of Florida at this age level before," Hunter Brown said.

The annual camp was held for 16 years in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where Center Ice managing partner Gordie Zimmermann took his son for the camp last summer. When he asked V-Red about hosting the camp in Wesley Chapel, it was happy to take him up on the offer, V-Red president Roger Shannon said.

Most of the players have played at a high level; it's recommended that they have Double-A or Triple-A experience. That makes for higher-quality play, Zimmermann said.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Advanced hockey camp moving from Canada to Wesley Chapel.

"The talent that they have here is way different from the talent that we've had in past camps," said Molly Flanagan, 17, of Lutz. "It's just a nice competition, and it gives us the ability to get better and progress on some aspects that we don't normally have."

Separated into two groups by age — junior for those born from 1998-2002 and intermediate for those born from 2003-05 — the players received training and advice from former pros, including Darren Rumble, a defenseman whose eight-year NHL career included 24 games with the Lightning from 2002-04.

"This is the most professional camp I've been to," said Brendan Robbins, 14, of Odessa. "The coaching's great. How they set up the camp, the ice time, off-ice, and the presentations are all great."

On the third day of camp, the groups were set up with teams that drafted players and could trade them. Then came a tournament, with group play, a semifinal and a final. The players spent several hours each day on the ice.

The extended playing time stood out for Garry Margosian, 59, of Lutz. His son Vincent, 16, is playing in juniors and needs more experience against faster competition, he said.

"You get a lot of playing (time)," he said. "You're on the ice three, four times a day, and you're doing a lot of classroom sessions, too."

Drills targeted specific skills the players will need in higher levels, from keeping their balance when skating faster to taking the puck away from an opponent. That is rare, Zimmermann said.

"Some of these kids have never seen these drills," he said. "They come up on a cone, and they've got to jump off of this foot and land back on that foot, and then turn immediately — stuff like that, nobody's ever told them to do that."

The schedule is flexible, Shannon said. The staff can "pretty much predict at what point the kids are going to be exhausted, at what point they're going to get a second wind" and will adjust the regimen accordingly, he said.

In his experience with other hockey programs in Florida, Zimmermann said, there wasn't much competition.

"It was, like, 20 guys trying out, and one guy might get cut," he said.

So the players put in less effort, which meant they wouldn't reach their potential, he said.

"When you get this many kids together, now all of a sudden there's awards and things that are going to happen, everybody's fighting for a spot," he said. "Everybody wants to be noticed, and they start trying harder, and that really brings out the best in them."

Comments
Lightning journal: Roster trimmed to 28

Lightning journal: Roster trimmed to 28

TAMPA – After Sunday morning, the Lightning sat five cuts away from having a 23-man roster to start the regular season.It cut its training camp roster by 27, leaving 28 players on the roster with the start of the regular season less than two we...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning forward prospect Boris Katchouk putting together strong preseason

Lightning forward prospect Boris Katchouk putting together strong preseason

TAMPA — As the end of training camp looms, there's no clear-cut answer as to how the Lightning will fill the one, maybe two open forward spots in its lineup.It could go with Adam Erne. Spending much of his time in AHL Syracuse the past three se...
Published: 09/22/18
Lightning journal: ‘No-risk’ forward pickup; another preseason win; Fan Fest on Sunday

Lightning journal: ‘No-risk’ forward pickup; another preseason win; Fan Fest on Sunday

TAMPA — It didn't take long for Lightning GM Julien BriseBois to decide he wanted to put a waiver claim in Friday.Not when he saw that F Danick Martel was available."He's a player we have had on our radar for a while, going back to actually his...
Published: 09/22/18
Lightning journal: Adam Erne looks to stick in Tampa

Lightning journal: Adam Erne looks to stick in Tampa

Forward Adam Erne flicks the puck into the net, but he has no time to celebrate.He flips around. Crunch, crunch, crunch. Snow flies off his skates. Erne then squares his body as he arrives in the defensive zone, steps away from the net.Within a secon...
Published: 09/21/18
Lightning falls to Hurricanes again in preseason

Lightning falls to Hurricanes again in preseason

The Lightning did not fare much better in its second preseason crack at the Hurricanes.In fact, it did worse.It lost 6-1 Wednesday in Raleigh, N.C.Carolina put a much more veteran team on the ice than it did Tuesday in winning Tampa Bay's preseason o...
Published: 09/19/18
Second-round pick Gabriel Fortier among Lightning’s early cuts

Second-round pick Gabriel Fortier among Lightning’s early cuts

One round of cuts down, several more to go.The Lightning cut seven players on Wednesday, five of whom were training camp invitees, the team announced. All seven players were assigned to juniors.Gabriel Fortier was the most notable cut. The Lightning'...
Published: 09/19/18
Lightning journal: Can Mathieu Joseph sneak his way onto the opening-day roster?

Lightning journal: Can Mathieu Joseph sneak his way onto the opening-day roster?

It remains to be seen if F Mathieu Joseph will make the Lightning's roster. If he doesn't, it certainly won't be because of a lack of opportunities.Joseph saw time on the Lightning power play and penalty kill on Tuesday at Amalie Arena when Tampa Bay...
Published: 09/19/18
Hockey News poll: Lightning favored to win Stanley Cup, other awards

Hockey News poll: Lightning favored to win Stanley Cup, other awards

Falling just short of winning a championship the past few seasons has done nothing to erode fans' confidence in the Lightning.Not just locally, but also nationally and across Canada.The Lightning is the runaway favorite to win the Stanley C...
Published: 09/19/18
Lightning journal: Alex Killorn’s just puttin’ on the Fitz

Lightning journal: Alex Killorn’s just puttin’ on the Fitz

TAMPA — How big is FitzMagic? It has hit the Lightning, too.Proving that Harvard guys stick together, Lightning forward Alex Killorn showed support for fellow Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick by, sort of, dressing up the way Fitzpatrick did after ...
Published: 09/19/18
Even if it’s just preseason, it matters

Even if it’s just preseason, it matters

TAMPA — It's a little after 10 o'clock on Tuesday morning.The NHL's intense regular season is still more than three weeks away. The uber-intense Stanley Cup playoffs are still seven months away.But, on this particular September day on a sheet o...
Published: 09/18/18