Capitals Development Camp Guide
The Washington Capitals Development Camp starts this Monday (July 7th, 2014) and will run through Saturday (July 12th, 2014) at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va. Attending the Development Camp is 100% free!
Plenty of fun can be had for new and experienced hockey fans and families. The Capitals will have family activities after Fan Fest on Saturday after the big scrimmage.
The Capitals Development Camp starts off on Monday with both the white and red team taking two practice sessions a day. That format will run through Wednesday. The practices aren’t much to see for the average fan. However, if you are a big fan and have the time to spend at KCI watching the future of the Caps go through testing and drills, it provides major insights into exactly how good some of these kids are.
Starting Thursday, the Development Camp will no longer have practice sessions and the two teams will only scrimmage. Thursday’s scrimmage will be held at 4:15pm. If you watch the whole scrimmage and have time to wait around and get autographs, you may do so when the players come off the ice. They are usually extremely friendly, but also tend to be shy. Most will stop by gates behind the benches where the media is stationed on the way to the locker room. Players also can be seen wondering around Ballston Mall as they are housed in nearby apartment/hotels.
The scrimmage on Friday will be held at 10:30am.
Fan Fest takes place on Saturday when the red and white squads scrimmage at 10:30. From my experience, you will need to get there much earlier in hopes to find a seat. I’d recommend be there by 9:30am at the latest. The worst views are standing at ice level behind the marked up glass. I highly recommend sitting up top for a birds eye view or somewhere in the bleachers. The Caps will have newly hired head coach Barry Trotz signing autographs. At Fan Fest there will be autograph sessions with a few current players and prospects, a used equipment sale, and a packed house. Following the scrimmage there will be an open free skate for fans.
The entire Capitals Development Camp roster can be found here.
The players attending the Development Camp consist of signed drafted players, unsigned draftees and free agent amateur players whom the Capitals have their eye on.
Who to watch:
Jakub Vrana – Vrana was the Capitals 13th overall pick of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft on June 27th. The Czech forward has been tagged as, “a skilled European forward with offensive flair” by scouts. He played last season in Sweden with Linkoping in the Swedish Hockey League jumping around from the senior to junior team. He scored 16 goals and added 12 assists between the two teams in 48 games. Vrana lead the U-18 World Championships with eight goals in seven games for the Czech Republic.
Andre Burakovsky – Burakovsky, Austrian-Swedish, was drafted 23rd overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He attended last years Development Camp and made a strong connection with Tom Wilson on the red squad. I asked Tom Wilson about playing with Burakovsky while working for WTTG Fox 5 and Wilson told me, “That would be an honor to play with him. He’s pretty skilled. I don’t know if we will ever play together (because Burakovsky will be a top line guy) but that would be pretty cool. I’ll work on getting him the puck and making room for him, thats for sure.” Burakovsky has a high skill ceiling. Great playmaking ability and has a good scoring touch to top it off. Burakovsky (6’1″ 178 lbs) recorded 41 goals and 46 assists in 57 games playing for the Erie Otters in the OHL last season. He was named the OHL Player of the Month in March.
Nathan Walker – Walker, an Australian, was drafted by the Capitals in the third round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. However, he attended last years Development Camp. He isn’t a big kid at 5’10” 185 lbs but is very quick and agile. I refer to it as being “shifty”. Others will think they have him lined up for a big hit and before they know it, he’ll make a quick move and be flying past them. He recorded 11 points in 43 games for the Caps AHL affiliate the Hershey Bears last season. He also represented Australia in the IIHF World Championships Division II tournament back in 2011 and was named Australia’s best player of the tournament by the coaches. Look for him to be very motivated to make a big impression and he’ll definitely shock you. He’s Australia’s best hope to have their first ever player in the NHL!
Other names to keep an eye out for: Madison Bowey, Zac Sanford, Vitek Vanecek, and Chandler Stephenson.
The Washington Capitals Development Camp is a fun week to see the future stars of the Capitals. If you can’t make Fan Fest on Saturday the 12th you can watching the game which will be announced by John Walton on www.monumentalnetwork.com
I highly encourage you to attend if you are debating whether or not to go!
You can follow me on twitter to keep the conversation going @whirschsports and I will likely be at the Development Camp from Thursday to Saturday.