The Islanders draft picks both completed their freshman seasons at the University of Minnesota, coming within one win of a national championship.
They are learning the college game and developing at one of the nation’s top hockey programs. And for a couple of native Minnesotans, playing for the State of Hockey’s top amateur team is thrill and a privilege in itself.
“I’ve been going to games my entire life, so now that I am playing there it’s pretty cool,” Cammarata said this week at Islanders Mini Camp. “A lot of guys dream about this stuff and it has kind of come true.”
Cammarata’s limited stature, 5’7, 156 lbs., didn’t disrupt his offensive production, as he scored 27 points (10G, 17A) in 39 games. The Minneapolis native also showcased himself on the biggest stage, potting a goal in the National Championship game against Union College.
“He is able to create offense even when it looks like the play is dead,” Bischoff said of Cammarata. “He’s a special player like that. He’s really fun to watch.”
Although the Gophers had a solid year, the transition to college hockey didn’t come without its challenges for either player.
The college competition is bigger, stronger and faster and the talent pool is a lot deeper, according to Bischoff. He noted that in high school, there are usually one or two standout players per team, but in college, “everyone knows how to play.”
“You go from being one of the top guns on your team to fighting to play every night,” Bischoff said. “It was a change for me, but I really enjoyed it.”
Bischoff scored seven points (three goals, four assists) in 28 games on the blue line. He played a different role in college than he was accustomed to, but knows that he can earn ice time and more offensive opportunities with experience, hard work and steady development.
“We have a really good defensive coach – Mike Guentzel – and I think he taught me a lot,” Bischoff said. “Things like how to use my stick, how to play the body, how to do things in my own end. That really helped me a lot.”
Unlike international and junior prospects, college athletes don’t attend NHL training camp in September. Both players have relished mini camp for the chance to work under the watchful eyes of the Islanders coaches, while also measuring themselves against the prospect pool.
“The camp has been a blast,” Bischoff said. “They set us up really well here with the hotel and meals.
As mini camp closed this weekend, the duo packed up their maroon and gold Gophers bags, confident in what they showed Islanders management and coaches and eager to attack their sophomore seasons.
Tochigi, Japan isn’t exactly a hockey hotbed. There are rarely live games on TV, save for events like the Olympics, meaning NHL.com is the primary gateway into the hockey world. Due to the time change, Islanders games start at 8 a.m.
But that hasn’t stopped Tochigi native Yuri Terao from playing his favorite sport of hockey. Terao scored 11 points (3G, 8A) in five games at the U-18 World Championship Division 1 Tournament two years ago and was named the Best Forward of the tournament that same year. Terao earned an invite to the Islanders Mini Camp this week on Long Island and made the 6,700 mile (as the crow flies) journey, because there are just some invitations you can’t turn down.
“It’s been so much fun (being here),” Terao said through translator Taka Shirai. “I’ve been learning a lot from the coaches.”
With so many hockey resources at his disposal during camp, Terao has soaked up the opportunity on Long Island. Here, he’s been developing his game with NHL coaches and top junior prospects like Griffin Reinhart and Ryan Pulock.
“He has played extremely well this week,” Islanders Head of Player Development Eric Cairns said. “He’s got some nice skill. It was a really good opportunity for him to come over here and take this experience as a measuring stick – to see what he can and can’t do against really good competition – and take that knowledge back to his game wherever he goes next.”
This kind of instruction is not readily available in Japan. Terao’s father put him in skates at age two, but there are just few rinks in his homeland and only one Japanese player – former LA Kings goalie Yutaka Fukufjui – who has ever made the NHL. Terao’s brother Hiromichi skated at the Isles Mini Camp two years ago, but there is not a lot of public exposure to the game and a less-developed apparatus for sending players to the North American leagues.
“Compared to the United States, there are not many hockey rinks or much public support for hockey,” Terao’s translator Taka Shirai, said. “It’s not the best environment, but Terao is trying to play as much as possible.”
The language barrier is the biggest obstacle for Terao at this week’s camp. He has Shirai to translate for him off the ice, but on the ice and in the gym, he has to rely on what he sees and communicate through body language.
“We get him to watch the other players and emulate what they do,” Eric Cairns said. “He seemed to have a positive response back and really good body language. He has come to work every day and his effort level is great.”
Terao’s family and friends were able to watch him during the Blue and White Scrimmage via a live stream on NewYorkIslanders.com. There’s a long road ahead to grow the game in Japan, but an emerging local star could start warming the embers in Tochigi.
Joshua Ho-Sang electrified Nassau Coliseum Thursday night at the Islanders Blue and White Scrimmage, showcasing the smooth hands that garnered a first-round selection, last month in Philadelphia.
He scored two goals and an assist during the annual prospect scrimmage and added a slick marker in the ensuing shootout competition. Team Blue won the Scrimmage 7-3 and by the end of the night, the 4,000 fans at Nassau Coliseum were chanting “Ho-Sang! Ho-Sang!” in cadence with the arena organ.
“It was pretty surreal,” Ho-Sang said of the crowd chanting his name. “I never expected it, but it made me nervous before I shot (in the shootout). It’s such an honor and the fans support was unbelievable.”
Ho-Sang’s three-point night propelled Team Blue past Team White. The Blue-clad prospects broke open a 1-1 draw after the first period, en route to a 5-2 win in the game portion, before taking two-of-three events in the skills competition.
“It was good to get back out there in a game,” Team Blue defenseman Ryan Pulock said. “I thought the guys gelled out there a bit and I thought as the game went on we got better.”
“I played with (Mike) Halmo and Quine… and they are both NHL-caliber players,” Ho-Sang said. “They give me a lot of room. I was also playing with Pulock and Griffin (Reinhart) most of the night. When you play with great players, it’s not too hard.”
The action shifted to a skills competition following regulation, as the teams competed in a shootout, hardest shot challenge and team breakaway competition.
Quine and Ho-Sang dazzled the fans in the shootout competition, as Quine channeled Ryan Strome’s memorable between-the-legs move from 2011, sending the Coliseum into a frenzy. Ho-Sang scored the shootout decider with some complicated and highly-skilled stick handling.
Reinhart and Pulock tied in the hardest shot competition, each driving the puck 89 MPH towards the goal. Reinhart said he was just trying to emulate Pulock during an on-ice interview and conceded that he still thinks Pulock’s shot is harder.
Team White won the team breakaway challenge, ending the annual event on a high note.
Despite the loss, Kevin Czuczman said the event was fun and he relished being able to put on the Islanders jersey in front of the fans again.
“It’s unreal putting that jersey on,” Czuczman said. “You get chills every time you do.”
As one of the veterans of the Islanders Mini Camp, Czuczman looked solid and poised on the ice, picking up an assist. He said he could see the nerves in some of the younger players, but that these events are important for a player’s development.
“You could tell there were a lot of nerves out there and I saw some of myself out there when I was at my first development camp,” he said. “You learn how much more work there is to do.”
The teams get back to work this weekend with two more days on the ice before the close of Islanders Mini Camp on Sunday.
After three days of showing their stuff to the coaches, the New York Islanders prospects will be on display for the fans at the Islanders annual Blue and White scrimmage tonight at 7 p.m. at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders draft picks, prospects and Mini Camp invites have already been split into two teams – 22 per side – and will play two 25 minute halves. A skills competition, featuring a fastest skater, hardest shot and breakaway challenge, will follow the scrimmage.
Tickets: Tickets for tonight's scrimmage are $10 with proceeds benefitting the Islanders Children's Foundation. Great seats are still available and can be bought here.
Behind the Bench: Islanders Director of Player Development Eric Cairns and Bridgeport Sound Tigers Assistant Coach Doug Howela will coach Team Blue, while Marty Reasoner and Islanders Assistant Coach Matt Bertani will coach Team White.
Veterans: Defensemen Griffin Reinhart and Scott Mayfield are two of the most senior players in tonight’s game. Reinhart is gearing up for his third Mini Camp scrimmage, while Mayfield is suiting up for his fourth. The veterans are split up for the game, as Reinhart is on Team Blue while Mayfield is on Team White.
Back to White: The Islanders are returning to the Blue vs. White format after two seasons of Blue vs. Orange. Team White beat Team Blue 6-5 in 2011, but Ryan Strome’s jaw-dropping shootout goal was the lasting memory from the game.
Reinhart/Pulock: Islanders fans will have their chance to watch Reinhart and Ryan Pulock paired together. The 2012 and 2013 first-round picks are slated to play together on Team Blue’s top pairing.
Pokka Debuts: Ville Pokka will make his Blue and White Scrimmage debut skating with Kevin Czuczman (also debuting) on Team White. Pokka missed last summer’s game while completing his compulsory military service in Finland.
Goaltenders: Philippe Trudeau and Eamon McAdam will tend goal for Team White tonight, while Stephon Williams and Linus Soderstrom will split the duties for Team Blue. Starters have not been announced.
Last Three: Three different teams have won the last three prospect scrimmages.
With so many new and young faces around the Coliseum, NewYorkIslanders.com is helping you get to know the Islanders prospects. Check back daily for more Q and A's, as well as full Mini Camp coverage.
Ryan Pulock was the Islanders 2013 first-round pick and is the teams’ undisputed king of the bus trip. Pulock’s junior team, the Brandon Wheat Kings, is the Western Hockey League’s most eastern team, travelling up to 22 hours on a bus for road games. His tolerance of lengthy road trips is legendary, but what you may not know about Ryan is…
Favorite Player: Sidney Crosby
Favorite Player Growing Up: Also Crosby
Favorite Team (Growing Up): Buffalo Sabres
Longest Junior Bus Trip: 22 hours (Brandon, MB to Prince George, BC/Portland, OR)
How do you pass time on the bus: Hang out with the guys, go on the phone.
Favorite kind of music: Country
Favorite Food: Steak
Cheat Day Meal: Chocolate Ice Cream
Twitter or Instagram: That's a tough one, but Twitter.
Linus Soderstrom was the Islanders fourth-round pick in the NHL Draft last month. The 6’5, 196-pound Swede spent last season with Djurgarden’s junior club in the SuperElit league. His stats and size are on display, but what you may not know about Linus is his…
Favorite Player: Henrik Lundqvist
Favorite Player Growing Up: Also Lundqvist
Favorite Team Growing Up: Djurgarden in Sweden, Pittsburgh in the NHL
Longest Junior Road Trip: 10 hours (Stockholm to Lulea, Sweden)
How do you pass time on the bus: Watch TV series on the iPad; play cards
Favorite Food: Gluten-free hamburger
Cheat Day Meal: Gluten-free hamburger
Favorite Music: House
Twitter or Instagram: That's a hard one. Can I say both?
You have to pick one...: Twitter
With so many new and young faces around the Coliseum, NewYorkIslanders.com is helping you get to know the Islanders prospects. Check back daily for more Q and A's, as well as full Mini Camp coverage.
Michael Dal Colle was drafted fifth overall by the Islanders at the NHL Draft last month. Fans know the 6’3, 184-pound winger as a skilled playmaker on the ice, but what you didn't know about Dal Colle is his...
Favorite Player: Evgeni Malkin
Favorite Team (Growing Up): Toronto Maple Leafs
Longest Junior Bus Trip: Eight hours (Oshawa, ON to Sault Ste. Marie, ON)
How do you pass time on the bus: Listen to music, sleep.
Favorite kind of music: Everything, I have a pretty wide variety that I listen to.
Okay… pick one, Jason Aldean or Avicii: Avicii
Favorite Food: Nachos
Cheat Day Meal: Nachos
Twitter or Instagram: That’s a tough question. Tie. I can’t choose.
You have to go with one…: Twitter
Kyle Burroughs played four seasons with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League. Burroughs captained the team in his final year posting a career-high 40 points (8G, 32A). But what you didn’t know about Burroughs is…
Favorite Player: Drew Doughty
Favorite Player Growing Up: Brendan Morrison
Favorite Team Growing Up: Vancouver Canucks
Longest Junior Road Trip: 20 hours (Regina, SK to Portland, OR)
How do you pass time on the bus: Cribbage and we throw water bottles at each other
Favorite Food: Steak
Cheat Day Meal: Bag of Sour Cream and Onion chips and a chocolate milkshake
Favorite Music: I like anything
Okay… pick one, Jason Aldean or Avicii: Jason Aldean
Twitter or Instagram: *long pause* Instagram
Islanders Mini Camp opened Tuesday, as recent draft picks, prospects and local invitees hit the ice Nassau Coliseum for a week of instruction from Islanders and Bridgeport Sound Tigers coaches.
The first day started with 7 a.m. headshots and physicals, followed by an off-ice session at Pro PT and an on-ice session at the Coliseum. The 48 skaters were split into two teams – blue and white. Click here for the full mini-camp roster.
Conditioning was the theme of the first day, as most players hadn’t been involved in team skating and workouts since the end of their junior, collegiate and professional seasons.
NewYorkIslanders.com was on hand to bring you all the news, notes and quotes from day one of camp.
Update: Isles TV conducted interviews throughout the day. Watch: Reinhart; Pulock; Capuano; Dal Colle and Ho-Sang
Day One By the Numbers
47 – Total Skaters
1 – Absent Skater (Sam Herr) to arrive on Thursday
2 – Sessions, one on-ice and one off-ice
6 – Local players from Long Island: Tommaso Bucci, John Schiavo, Chris Makowski, Jimmy Mazza, Mike Marnell and Anthony Pupplo.
27 – Undrafted Players
6746 – Miles (roughly) from Long Island to Japan. Japanese prospect Yuri Terao travelled the furthest of any invitee to attend camp.
From the Coach:
"This is just a fun week for us, not only for the kids to get to know one another, but for the coaches to interact and spend some one-on-one time with these kids. We’re not here to judge and evaluate players, we know they’re good players. We’re here to get to know them. That’s more or less what I want to accomplish this week."
Pulock and Pelech on Day One:
Pulock on his second mini camp: "I feel so much more comfortable out there. I met everyone around here last year. I know some of the systems they play now. I know what they are trying to stress on us to work on."
Adam Pelech on nerves vs. excitement: "It’s a combination. You’re definitely a little bit nervous because you’re surrounded by a lot of great people… and influential people in the organization. There are some nerves, but it’s also exciting to have the chance to even get out here. It’s a combination of both."
Pelech on camp: "It was a high-pace practice and they expect a lot out of you. They have their own systems and things they believe in that they try to implement into our game. It’s good to get out here and have a first-hand opportunity to learn the things they want us to do."
Scott Mayfield: "This camp I want to be more of a leader considering it’s my fourth year, but at the same time I can learn something new every day... My goal is to play here on the Island, I know I got the chance last year, but I want to be a full-time player this year."
Kevin Czuczman: "A couple of guys asked me what it was like to play out there. You can’t look too far ahead, you have to take the little steps. This is my fourth development camp. Every year I try to take a little thing from it. There are so many resources here and so many little things you can take away from it."
Czuczman Continued: "Every time you put on a jersey, you’re proving somehting. You have to earn it every time. Youre always proving something whether youre working out or carrying yourself off the ice, you’re representing the team... It’s the biggest summer of my life this summer and you have to treat it that way."
Dal Colle: "It was fun, but I was actually pretty anxious coming in. Now that I’ve gotten it out of the way, it’s a load off my shoulders, but it was good. The coaching staff sent the message that if you want to be a pro, you have to excel in all aspects. Work ethic is what separates you if you want to play in the NHL. That’s the main thing I took away from today."
Ho-Sang: "Just to be out there… the whole atmosphere… It’s really exciting, I’m like a kid in a candy store. The fact that I get to wear this logo and the equipment… it’s a blessing."
"I’m pretty sure I said something to every single coach and they all said something to me and that’s awesome."
"The biggest thing I can take from Day 1 is you have to be in shape; you have to be physically ready. You have to be mentally ready. There are moments when you are going to be really tired throughout the NHL season and you have to fight through that. Even towards the end of the practice I was getting a little tired – we woke up at six this morning – that’s new, its different, but it’s adjusting to the lifestyle."
The Islanders invited five players from the P.A.L Jr. Islanders and six players from Long Island.
Jack Capuano: Any time you can have a local player come to one of these camps, it’s exciting... They get to go through an experience they will never forget. They learn what it’s going to take for them to get to the next level and it’s great that the organization does things like that."
Brock Nelson was all over the ice and the scoresheet Thursday, but could not propel Team USA to a win, as the Americans fell 6-5 to Team Latvia at the IIHF World Championships.
Nelson scored his second and third goals of the tournament, but Team USA never held a lead and were constantly chasing the pesky Latvians. With Team USA trailing 6-4, and its net empty, Nelson deflected a cross-ice feed past goalie Kristers Gudlevskis. The marker incited a furious finish to the game, but the Latvians collapsed around their own net and held the Americans at bay.
The Islanders center also scored Team USA’s second goal, spinning and roofing a backhander in tight along the Latvian goal line. Nashville Predators defenseman Seth Jones assisted on both of Nelson’s goals and finished the game with a team-high three points (1G, 2A). Jones’ NHL teammate Craig Smith also had a multi-point game, scoring a goal and an assist in the loss.
Herberts Vasiljevs scored the game-winner for the Latvians with 2:21 to play.
Three Islanders were enlisted by USA Hockey to capture World Championship gold for the first time since 1960, as the IIHF World Championship begins Friday in Belarus.
Colin McDonald, Brock Nelson and Matt Donovan will don the red, white and blue for Team USA at the annual spring tournament, taking place in Minsk this year. Nelson and Donovan have both represented the United States at the World Juniors, while McDonald is set to make his international debut. The Islanders trio is joined by NHLers including former Vezina winner Tim Thomas, Nashville Predators defenseman Seth Jones, Calder Trophy nominee Tyler Johnson and Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader.
Click here for the full USA roster.
The Americans are looking to build off of a 2013 bronze performance in 2013, their first medal since capturing bronze in 2004.
The Americans enter the tournament ranked sixth in the world by the IIHF and are one of the top three teams – along with Finland and Russia – in Group B. Latvia, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, Germany and Belarus round out the competition in Group B.
Team USA opens the tournament on Friday, May 9 against the host nation at 1:45 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Network. The preliminary action continues the next day, as Team USA faces off against Team Switzerland at 1:45 p.m. EST.
Fans should circle Monday on their World Championship calendars, as Team USA continues their storied rivalry with Team Russia at 1:45 p.m. EST. The preliminary round ends with games against Latvia (Thursday, 9:45 a.m.), Kazakhstan (Friday 9:45 a.m.), Finland (Sunday, 9:45 a.m.) and Germany (Tuesday, 5:45 a.m.). All games will be broadcast on NBCSN.
|Click here for a full gallery from day one.|
The New York Islanders are proud to host the sixth annual Lighthouse International Youth Hockey Tournament this week at Nassau Coliseum. Teams from Finland, China and Japan are here to play against local Long Island teams in this great event on the iconic ice at Nassau Coliseum. The tournament gives all players the opportunity to play teams from all over the world, submerse themselves in different cultures and make long-lasting friendships.
The tournament starts on Wednesday Jan. 22 and ends on Saturday Jan. 25. Make sure to check newyorkislanders.com daily for all the latest tournament scores, photos and behind-the-scenes updates!
Day One Recap:
Game One: Finland One 10, Japan 3
Finland and Japan kicked off the tournament with an all-international matchup, with the Finns skating to a 10-3 win. Okku Untala scored a game-high five points (1g/4a) as the Finns broke open a 1-0 game with four second-period goals. Verneri Viitala (3g) and Okku Untala (3a) did their best John Tavares-Thomas Vanek impersonation, as Untala fed Viitala for all three goals in his hat trick. Niko Kalliolepi also had a strong game for Finland, scoring four goals. Kenata Sesoya led the Japanese team with a goal and an assist.
Game Two: China (Qiqihar) 8, Rinx 3
Team China (Qiqihar) defeated Team RINX 8-3 in the teams’ opening-round matchup. China scored the game’s first five goals before Ethan Halle put RINX on the scoresheet late in the second period. Zhao Haiying and Zhou Xinyu led the way for China, each scoring two goals. With the victory, China heads to round two to face Finland 1
Game Three: China (Harbin) 4, Nassau 3
Islanders assistant coach Doug Weight's son, Danny, scored a goal and two assists, but the Nassau Islanders fell 4-3 to Team China (Harbin) in the third game of the afternoon. Nassau had a 2-0 lead in the second period, but China scored four unanswered goals – including a natural hat trick from Wang Jing – to take a 4-2 lead. Nassau made a late push and scored with 24 seconds to play, but the one-goal deficit was as close as they came.
Game Four: Finland Two 13, Westchester 0
Team Finland’s 13-goal effort was the high-water mark in Wednesday’s action, as they shutout the local team from Westchester. Mikhail Lahti led the way with a game-high four goals, while Jesse Kalliuina posted a hat trick and Markus Kerhula had three assists. The game was 1-0 after the first period, but Finland progressed as the game wore on, scoring eight goals in the third period.