WINNIPEG — The rink at the MTS Iceplex was jammed for the first day of the Winnipeg Jets annual summer development camp.
Thirty-seven draft picks, prospects and invitees were present and accounted for, most of them taking part in a 45-minute first-day session this afternoon. It included the team’s 2014 first-round draft pick Nikolaj Ehlers, chosen ninth overall on June 27 in Philadelphia.
The week is less about who scores or stops the goals and more about developing relationships and learning how better to become a pro.
"It’s about them off the ice, on the ice, meeting them as people, getting to understand them a little bit and them understanding us," said Jets co-ordinator of player development Jimmy Roy, of the former Manitoba Moose. "Just overall getting to know them on and off the ice."
The off-ice issues are a priority, Roy agreed.
"Give them some direction on what they need to do to turn the boy strength into man strength, to prepare themselves for the NHL; that’s a big part of it," he said.
This week’s camp is missing some expected attendees.
Draft picks Andrew Copp (fourth round, 2013), Brennan Serville (third round, 2011), Tanner Lane (sixth round, 2010) and Jack Glover (third round, 2014) are not in Winnipeg. All are U.S. college players.
"I think they were planning on coming and then all of a sudden we were notified of some rules and some teams, and it wasn’t only us, (had) things change and players that were in attendance-based classes, they were unable to get out of them," Roy said. "Things like that happen."
There was a suggestion today that Glover might be able to attend later in the week.
Sessions continue Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. and are open to the public. Camp ends on Friday.