Photo Courtesy of Gabby Ulan

College players making use of NHL development camps

College hockey athletes train during the summer, it’s a must. By the time players reach the Division I tier of ice hockey, they’re pretty used to intense work-outs to stay in shape during the off-season.

However, for more than 400 college players this summer, their training will be a bit more exciting than the average NCAA summer workouts. Many college players are off at the NHL’s development camps, where they can show off their talent, and continue to train with their future employers.

Obviously, development camps are a huge chance for college players to show NHL teams that they’re the real deal. For many, like WCHA player of the year Colton Parayko, the development camps are a chance to show how much you’ve improved, and how hard you’re willing to work.

“It’s a great program to get bigger and stronger and he’s taking advantage of it,” said Blues director of amateur scouting Bill Armstrong, of Parayko. “He’s going in the right direction. He’s got a long way to go, but he’s getting there … He’s putting the odds in his favor by how hard he’s working.”

Other college players, such as BC’s Mike Matheson, have showed off their growing strength as well.

“He’s getting stronger and stronger,” said Panthers manager of player development Bryan McCabe, via NHL.com. “He’s blowing away some of the tests out there. He’s one of the stronger guys in the room. He’s a quick guy. He’s a student of the game, for sure. He asks questions. He thinks it. He sleeps it. He eats it. We’re looking for a big year out of him at BC this year.”

For many, the chance to participate in an NHL development camp, matched with the hard work they put in all year is enough to prove that they deserve to be pros. But for now, they’re focused on utilizing their time in college to build themselves up, both physically, and mentally.

“I play college hockey, and when I’m ready for the next step I’ll take it,” Avalanche prospect Will Butcher told the Denver Post. “You get four years to prove yourself in college hockey, and college hockey focuses more on development, lifting weights and becoming a man. It’s one of the reasons why I chose college hockey over major junior. I’m living in the now.”

For the college athletes participating in the camps, the hard work they’re putting in could pay off both in the future, and in the now, as many players are eyeing the national championship come next spring.

“We want to win a championship,” says Maine’s Devin Shore. “I think this year is the year for our team. We are going to have a great team. A Hockey East championship and getting to the Frozen Four, those are the results based goals. But if you just focus on getting better every day and doing whatever part to win, that stuff takes care of itself.”

Hard work pays off.

Tags: Development Camps

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