MORE THAN 75 YOUTH PLAYERS HIT THE ICE FOR DAY ONE OF AMERKS SUMMER HOCKEY CAMPNews | 8/6/2012 4:19:36 PM | Warren Kosel
Although hockey season does not officially start for another two months, the Sports Centre at MCC was filled to capacity today as more than 75 youth players from across the Greater Rochester Area took to the ice for Day One of the annual Rochester Americans’ summer hockey camp.
Led by Amerks Assistant Coach Chadd Cassidy and a host of other on-ice instructors, Monday’s session focused heavily on skating and getting the young players re-acclimated to the ice after a four-month hiatus following the completion of their respective seasons. Cassidy, however, was very pleased with what he saw from the campers and was equally satisfied with the turnout for this year’s camp.
“It was a great day first of camp and I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to help develop these young players,” said Cassidy, who last season helped the Amerks to a second-place finish in the North Division (36-26-10-4, 86 points) and a berth in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs. “The energy level was outstanding and we are certainly happy with the group of kids we have. It’s also a tremendous opportunity for the Amerks organization to work with the youth players of our community and I’m excited about the week ahead.”
The youth players were assigned to their teams respective to their ages and skill level, while being enrolled in either the half-day development camp or full-day program. As an added bonus for the first week, the campers are receiving personal instruction from Rochester native Derek Whitmore, who scored a career-high 28 goals with the Amerks in 2011-12, in addition to making his NHL debut with the Buffalo Sabres.
“For me, it’s an opportunity to come back home and teach the game that I love to our future stars of tomorrow,” said Whitmore, a product of Rochester Youth Hockey. “I look at all these kids and remember that this is where I started my career so I’m honored to be here and re-visit where it all started and where it’s most fun.”
The fun-filled week features a variety of both on and off-ice activities, with close instruction from qualified counselors, specifically aimed at providing an all-around experience for campers. The on-ice portion focuses primarily on skill and tactical development, with a heavy emphasis on real-game situations to better enhance the learning process. While the game’s basic fundamentals of skating, passing and shooting are always at the focal point, the program also offers a heightened awareness on the importance of proper technique and power-skating as well. The campers showcase everything they learned throughout the week on Friday in the highly anticipated scrimmage among their peers.
Away from the ice, students are taught the value of strength and conditioning through a physical workout regime and various team-related exercises designed to promote a healthy, active lifestyle outside of hockey. Additionally, campers participate in several team-building exercises that encourage teamwork, leadership and problem-solving, while being taught valuable life lessons such as commitment, dedication and responsibility. They also learn systems and strategic play through the means of extensive study and observation of video analysis, seeing first-hand how the game is played by professionals.