December 8, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
A team that's trying hard to build from within is readying a second summer prospects' camp.
The Winnipeg Jets haven't yet made any formal announcement of their plans but co-ordinator of player development Jimmy Roy said Wednesday he's busy preparing for the week-long exercise in mid-July.
Roy said for a second straight year, the Jets are expecting to invite 35 to 40 prospects for daily on-ice and off-ice sessions.
Roy, the former Manitoba Moose mainstay who finished his pro career in Germany, said his playing career has only partially helped him with his responsibilities with the NHL franchise.
"In today's world, it's a little different than when I was playing," he said Wednesday. "This is just my opinion, but players of this age have a lot of pressure on them, maybe more so now than when I was playing.
"They have access to their games on the Internet, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook. Everything they want in the social media world, they have access to. It wasn't that long ago, but I look back when I played and I feel like I was in a shell.
"This is about dealing with pressures of playing, pressures from their coach, pressure from agents, pressure from parents. Me, I like to tell kids to playing hockey to have fun, get better and I try to teach them about what they, individually, can do to get better. My goal for the year is to give the prospects more individual feedback as to what they can get better at."
The prospects camp will include daily on-ice activities, and then off the ice, it will feature things like media training, meetings with a sports psychologist, fitness testing and nutrition education.
"By the time they leave the camp, it's not only about the on-ice stuff but what we can do to help these kids get better," Roy added. "That's the hockey portion of it...
"You'd like to provide a culture, an environment where they could go, 'Holy s , this is pretty cool, I'd like to be a part of this.' That's our goal."
As last summer's first attempt proved, there is buzz over the high-profile prospects, even in July.
Most of the crop of 2013 picks (the Jets have 10 picks as of today) from later this month are likely to be in attendance but the majority of spotlight time will probably be taken by 2011 first-round pick Mark Scheifele, 2012 first-round pick Jacob Trouba and recently signed 2011 third-round pick Adam Lowry.
"Yeah, sure, those guys may be a little more comfortable with the organization, in particular Mark and Jacob, because they've met the people in the organization and have spent some time in Winnipeg already, and Adam was in St. John's at the end of the year," said Roy, who spent between four and six games with each of those three prospects this past winter.
"But it's the same for most of the players, that it's also an opportunity for us to see how their summer is going and possibly to look at the testing and say this is the direction you're going and maybe there needs to be some time off ice developing physically, for example. You can't monitor everybody 24-7. You just want to be able to give them some feedback to say this is the area, as an organization, that we'd like to see you get better at.
"And that will give you the best opportunity to play in the NHL."
In viewing more than 120 games -- "all of them on the road," he laughed -- and spending time with all of the organization's prospects, both amateur and pro, Roy said he feels like he's just hitting his stride in his first post-playing job.
"As a player, you thought you knew how everything works," he said. "But there is so much more that goes into this side of the game, the thought and preparation that you don't realize, as a player."
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 6, 2013 D2