As we get set to take in the 2013 Stanley Cup final between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins, Capitals have announced the dates of their 2013 summer development camp. Washington’s annual summer development camp will run from July 8-13 at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
Less than four weeks from now, dozens of young hopefuls will come to Arlington from points around the world to partake in what has been a summer ritual in the organization for more than a decade.
The camp will conclude on Sat. July 13 with the Capitals’ annual Fan Fest. Fan Fest features the final summer camp scrimmage, the annual used equipment sale, an autograph session with Caps defenseman Steve Oleksy and a free open skate at Kettler upon the conclusion of that day’s scrimmage.
Last year’s summer camp was the first under head coach Adam Oates, who was hired about two weeks prior to the start of the 2012 camp. Under the direction of Oates and Steve Richmond, the Caps’ director of player development, Washington’s annual camp became more of a scrimmage-based operation last summer.
“Our focus was to get game conditions,” Richmond told me last summer. “We didn’t care if a guy could skate backwards. Everyone has their own ideas for camp. But we put this camp together with Adam Oates and [then-Hershey Bears coach] Mark French. We said, ‘We want speed, we want skill, we want competitiveness. We don’t need a conditioning camp. We want to find players and the only way to find players is having games.’
“That’s why we had more games. We had five games this year and moving forward I think that’s what we’ll do. A practice player doesn’t really help us, but you find out a lot in playing games.”
The roster for the Caps’ 2013 development camp will be announced at a later date. Expect most recent Washington draft choices – including those the Caps select at the 2013 NHL Draft on June 30 – and several non-drafted free agents to be in attendance.