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4 Things We Learned from NHL Development Camps

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 08/12/22, 10:15AM EDT


Small Area Games a popular theme

It’s been a busy few weeks for the game’s newest stars. From hearing their names called at the NHL Draft to quickly packing up and heading to NHL Development Camps, the whirlwind of excitement certainly wasn’t lost on the players.

Development Camps give teams an opportunity to introduce new players to their new cities, facilities, staff members and other important details about the organization. They feature a combination of on-ice drills and off-ice seminars.

From skating and skill development to Small Area Games, there were common threads throughout many of the Camps. Let’s take a look at what went on across the league.

Small Area Games

A popular theme during the Development Camps, many variations of Small Area Games were on display. Small Area Games emphasize passing, puck control and provide game like scenarios in tight spaces.


Some areas of focus included Skating drills. Through edgework, explosive speed and mechanics, many drill variations were on display.

Puck Battles

There are many ways to stop and start puck possession drills, such as a puck battle to gain control along the boards. Players need to use their edgework and body position to protect the puck from their opponent.


Former Edmonton Oilers captain Andrew Ference tells a behind the scenes story of an outdoor overnight adventure during Development Camp.  On the surface this does not appear directly connected to the players' on ice skills.  Ference says the exercise quickly showed attitudes and leadership skills of the players when put in a situation with adversity and stress.

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