Calgary's collegiate kids bonding at camp

Friday, 13.09.2013 / 6:13 PM
Aaron Vickers  - CalgaryFlames.com (@aavickers)

Those are definitely some solid guys. The fact that we all have that college route there's similarities there. It's been nice to chat with those guys and get to know all them. Corban Knight

CALGARY -- There's a sense of bonding that comes with a campus.

That seems to be the case after it, too.

Graduating from the college ranks after signing professional contracts this summer, that post-secondary pact still exists for the likes of Corban Knight, Josh Joorish and John Ramage.

Knight graduated from the University of North Dakota program after four years of schooling. Ramage spent four with the University of Wisconsin. Joorish played three seasons with Union College.

And while they may not have been closely acquainted before inking in Calgary, the group of 20-somethings are quickly being welcomed into the Flames fraternity.

"Those are definitely some solid guys," Knight said. "The fact that we all have that college route there's similarities there. It's been nice to chat with those guys and get to know all them. For the most part, everybody here's really good guys and they're buying into the team concept so it's been good to get to know everybody."

The former Hobey Baker nominee was quick to mix in Ben Hanowski.

Hanowski was acquired in the deal that sent Jarome Iginla to the Pittsburgh Penguins and signed with Calgary late last season after wrapping up his collegiate career. He closed out his year playing five games with the Flames, scoring once.

"Obviously the college guys, it's a little easier to talk to them because you have similar situations," said Hanowski, who had 62 goals and 113 points in four seasons at St. Cloud State. "The rookie camp, it was good. You meet a lot of guys."

Being the only one with National Hockey League experience has made Hanowski the go-to in what to expect at camp.

But even he admits he isn't the best to ask despite suiting up alongside the likes of Mike Cammalleri, Curtis Glencross and Mark Giordano just five months ago.

"I've shared some stories with them and other things but they all work extremely hard," Hanowski said. "I was kind of 'deer in the headlights' for a couple weeks so I don't know how much good advice I could give them anyway."

Last season, Hanowski was prepping freshmen.

This year, he is one.

"It's a little different," he said. "You get right into it and it's all about hockey and that's all you have to worry about which is nice, but it's also your job and you have to take it really serious. You're not going to class and hanging out. It's strictly hockey."

The same was said by Knight.

"It's definitely been weird not going back and getting ready for classes but it's a nice change, that's for sure, to just focus on hockey and try to make your dream come true," he said.

But that doesn't mean the kids aren't studying.

If anything, they're getting a crash course at training camp on what it takes to be an NHLer.

"I'm here with all these guys and seeing what it takes," Knight said. "It definitely makes you want to work that much harder to make this team come October. It's a pretty special thing that's going on here and I want to be a part of it."

So what's the 23-year-old learned in his first pro tryout?

"The one thing I've noticed so far how strong and quick everyone is at this level," Knight said. "You look at these guys and there's a reason they're in the NHL, just the way they battle and compete out there. They're so smart too in every zone. It's not very often you're going to be able to make a mistake and not have it cost you. You've got to try to be as careful as you can with the puck and really protect it and try to limit the mistakes."

Hanowski took his course last April after spending time with the organization.

He's busy applying what he's learned.

"I've dropped some weight, tried to get lighter and faster and be a little quicker and be able to play longer and play harder," he admitted.

That's not all.

"You've got to always be doing the little things right because if you're not, someone else is willing to do them," he added. "You've just got to bring it every night."

Valuable lessons being both taught and learned for Calgary's four collegiates.

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