The Panthers crossed the midway point of Development Camp on Wednesday, which consisted of a variety of off-ice activities intended to build chemistry and camaraderie amongst the group. The team hit the beach for some old-fashioned fun, including tug of war, volleyball and a scavenger hunt.
For the day’s second “session,” the team visited Feeding South Florida, the leading domestic hunger relief organization in the area, where they helped sort enough food to provide more than 6,700 meals to families in need.
JB Spisso, a performance coach and lead consultant for Elite Leadership Training, led the team through its off-ice activities. Spisso is a retired sergeant from the U.S. Army with 29 years of military and leadership experience – he spent some time in San Antonio at the end of last season running the players through a vigorous off-ice training program
Florida’s staff caught up with Spisso at camp to hear about his approach to training and how it applies in hockey.
What types of things are you looking for from the guys as week progresses?
We are trying to develop those communication skills. You’ve got kids from North America, Europe, most of them don’t play together. We are trying to forge that foundation for success so that they can help each other. They can be a supporting element for each other and also use that as a guide, a mentorship program.
We know that they are all competing for a job. We get that. We want them to compete for a job. That is why everything we do this week has a competition, but we want them to also know, they have a foundation for success.
In what ways are you getting them to push both physically and mentally?
All of our team-building events, although they do have a physical element about it, there is a mental element about it that comes into play. If you don’t plan, if you don’t strategize, if you don’t work together its going to be hard, its going to suck. If you do work together, it won’t be as hard. That is what we want, we want them to understand that it’s a team concept that wins.
Jonathan Racine, who is coming off a strong rookie season in San Antonio, is taking part in his first Development Camp. He shared his thoughts on the week so far.
How is camp going?
It is my first year at the camp. I am confident that camp is going pretty well. Trying to give some stuff to the young prospects that it’s their first year here and that’s all.
How was your first season in San Antonio?
That was a good experience. That was my first year. I learned a lot. We had good veterans. My coach helped me a lot to be comfortable.
How was your first game with the Panthers (Racine made his NHL debut on April 1 against the New York Islanders)?
That was a dream for me to play my first NHL game. I was happy. I was not expecting to play, but I played the game and I was pretty happy to be there and I did well I think.
What areas of your game are you hoping to improve this offseason?
I need to improve my skill, to be more confident with the puck and just work hard.
Anybody out there impress you at camp so far?
I did not see all the team. I just see Team Red. We have good prospects like [Mike] Matheson; he’s pretty good. I don’t know. I don’t watch the other players when I am practicing.
How has the beach been today?
It has been fun. We had a scavenger hunt, we had a lot of fun and now I think we are going to play beach volleyball and have some fun.
Photos from Camp
The team plays tug of war at Deerfield Beach on Wednesday.
Tony Turgeon and Connor Brickley help box up food for families in need at Feeding South Florida.
Jonathan Racine helps move boxes at Feeding South Florida.
Vincent Trocheck (right) helps sort food at Feeding South Florida.