2008 Hockey Pro Camp Wraps Up
Aug. 15, 2008
East Lansing, Mich. - The 2008 edition of Spartan Hockey Pro Camp wrapped up on Friday afternoon with a golf outing, bringin to conclusion a week that was marked by hard work on the ice, goodwill off of it, and plenty of laughs for the nearly 30 players who returned to East Lansing.
In addition to the usual pro camp drills and scrimmages, the week saw the unveiling of the new hot and cold tubs in the Munn Arena training room, a project made possible by the donations of nine NHL players. On Thursday, the players welcomed several children acquainted with the MSU hockey program through Sparrow Hospital's "Spartan Buddies" program.
More than a decade ago, former MSU goalie Jason Muzzatti came to MSU Assistant hockey coach Tom Newton with an idea - could Newton possibly help him organize a mid-August training session at Munn Arena to help all the former Spartans get themselves ready for their upcoming pro hockey training camps?
Muzzatti, (now since retired from pro hockey), and Newton finished up yet another Spartan Hockey pro camp this week, with nearly 30 former MSU players on hand. Whether an established NHL'er like Ryan Miller or Shawn Horcoff, or someone participating in their first camp like Justin Abdelkader or Bryan Lerg, the camp is now an annual gathering that brings together several generations of Spartans for hard work - and plenty of laughs along the way. What started as a gradual warm-up for fall training camps has evolved into a competitive workout, with conditioned players already near mid-season form.
Aside from providing extra training before fall camps, MSU's Pro Camp serves a second purpose. Now a part of MSU's rich hockey tradition, the camp reaffirms the family atmosphere within the Spartan hockey program. This was perhaps no more evident than this year, when a brand-new, custom-built hot and cold tub was unveiled - made possible by the generous donation by nine of MSU's current professional players. What started as an idea by Jim Slater at last year's pro camp blossomed into the $85,000 custom-built tubs - which got plenty of use in their first week of existence. Donations came from Slater, Mike York, Andrew Hutchinson, Adam Hall, Shawn Horcoff, Mike Weaver, Ryan Miller, John-Michael Liles, and Bryan Smolinski.
"One of the great things is to get the guys together back in the old Spartan locker room and let them know that they're still a big part of this place - that we're proud of you and you're welcome back here any time," Newton said. "The other piece that has come together is that these players come back here, and give back to our program and the community. I think that this campus, this place, means a lot to them, and giving back is a way that they show their appreciation."
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