Development Camp Season: Bulldogs Edition
It’s an old age phrase, hard work pays off. For several Hamilton Bulldogs players, the reward for their hard work during the 2015 – 2016 OHL season is…more hard work.
Justin Lemcke was the only Belleville Bull/Hamilton Bulldog player to receive an invitation to a development camp last July. This summer brings far more opportunities for the Hamilton roster to grow their game. There may still be invitations that will be reported, but most of the NHL teams have announced their invitation rosters:
- Cole Candella (140th, 5th Round) – Vancouver Canucks
- Benjamin Gleason (Free agent invitation) – Carolina Hurricanes
- Brandon Saigeon (Free agent invitation) – Toronto Maple Leafs
- Niki Petti (Free agent invitation) – Arizona Coyotes
- Matt Luff (Free agent invitation) – Los Angeles Kings
- Connor Hicks (Free agent invitation) – Detroit Red Wings
Chance to impress
Think of an invitation to a development camp as an extended job interview. The role within the company you’re trying to land: the chance to play in an rookie tournaments in September. From there, there’s the hope of attending an NHL training camp. Justin Lemcke, Niki Petti and Trent Fox all got the opportunity to attend the Traverse City Tournament last summer, where Lemcke and Petti were impressive enough to get extended looks in camp.
This is a chance to get advice from another set of professionals. Typically, each team will have their Director of Player Personal in attendance, and camps are typically organized by AHL coaching staff. You’ll probably find the NHL coaches and General Managers up in the stands taking in the big picture. When we ask the boys what they learned and the advice they heard, we’ll probably get some boilerplate answers “get bigger, faster and stronger”. What matters is that the Bulldogs players do is take this advice to heart. The best part is that it will give them a boost going into this next season here in Hamilton.