Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's ice hockey program is being well represented this week with four current student-athletes at several National Hockey League (NHL) Prospect Development Camps.
Senior wing Garrett Thompson (Traverse City) has been working out this week (July 8-12) with the NHL Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks after originally taking part in the Calgary Flames' prospect camp a year ago.
Meanwhile, senior forward Cory Kane (Irvine, Calif.) was invited to the Vancouver Canucks camp this week (July 7-12) following participation in the Toronto Maple Leafs camp last summer.
In addition to the two official invitees, a pair of Bulldogs received calls to participate in the Detroit Red Wings' prospect camp game to be held Friday at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City. Junior defensemen Simon Denis (Burnaby, British Columbia) and Jason Binkley (Powell, Ohio) both were asked to take part in the scrimmage game due to a need for defensemen thru contact with former Bulldog player and assistant coach Jeff Blashill, who served as a Red Wings' assistant coach in 2011-12 before leading the franchise's top affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, to the American Hockey League's Calder Cup Championship this past season.
The prospect camps give NHL clubs the opportunity to evaluate some of the game's top prospects from the junior, collegiate and professional levels. Players take part in daily intrasquad contests along with sessions on player development and on-ice workouts among other things.
Both drafted players and free-agent prospects can participate in these camps, providing the NHL teams a chance to survey player skills, abilities, and growth.
Each NHL team runs its own development camp during the summer months, which includes their drafted prospects as well as a handful of players who are invited as guests. NCAA players must finance these camps on their own to retain their collegiate eligibility.
The quartet of skaters helped FSU conclude the 2012-13 season with a 16-16-5 overall record and the squad placed fifth in their final season of CCHA competition. FSU also earned a first-round bye in the league tournament for the fourth consecutive season, joining Miami (Ohio) as the lone league members to receive a bye in each of the final four years of the CCHA.
This past season's campaign came on the heels of a historic 2011-12 campaign in which Ferris State received its first- ever number one national ranking, won the CCHA regular-season championship, claimed the NCAA Midwest Regional crown and advanced to the Frozen Four for the first time in school history.
Ferris State will officially open the 2013-14 season on the road at Colgate in a non-league series set for Oct. 5-6 in Hamilton, N.Y. The regular-season home opener is set for Friday, Oct. 18, as FSU entertains St. Lawrence in Big Rapids with the squad's first-ever WCHA home series slated for Nov. 8-9 versus Bemidji State.