After they slip a sweater over their top prospects, NHL teams ship those talented teenagers to summer development camp for professional competition and training.
Cross-ice hockey is a staple of those camps, as teams look to maximize player development in the era of homegrown talent trumping free-agent frenzies.
“Cross-ice play puts players in situations where they’re in a confined area and have to make quick decisions and skilled plays under pressure,” said New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes. “We do it to evaluate our players under those circumstances, where they have to read and react in game situations. We’ll use it as a regular part of our practice, where players can compete, and there’s a lot of individual development that comes out of it.”
Click the video below to see how New Jersey implemented a cross-ice tournament, complete with a gleaming gold trophy for the victors, into its summer development camp.