Exclusive: Tyler Toffoli on Team Canada camp experience

Last summer the Kings sent six players to Hockey Canada’s summer evaluation camp for their 2011 World Junior team.

This year, Tyler Toffoli was the lone representative.

The week long camp ended Sunday night and I spoke with Toffoli yesterday about the overall experience. Here are his thoughts on ten items related to being at camp…

– Overall: “It was good seeing everybody there again, like last year. I felt like camp went well though. It was tough and it was a lot of fun at the same time. We were working hard and getting back into it. It felt good.”

– Ryan Smyth being an assistant coach for one of the scrimmages: “I didn’t really get a chance to speak with him. He came and spoke with us before the game and was telling us about his previous experiences with Team Canada. After that, we had to get to the rink. So, unfortunately, I couldn’t spend any more time with him.”

– The t-shirts given to the players in camp that read ‘Earned, Not Given’: “I think it’s kind of self explanatory. You have to work for what you want. And that’s definitely what Team Canada is going for next season and moving forward. Hopefully I can be part of it.”

– Spending one of the off-ice sessions at a military base: “Yeah, we went to an Army base. We did a little bit of rappelling and we did an obstacle course too. We didn’t have to do it with the 40 extra pounds that they have to do it with. But, it was still tough for what we had to do. I can only imagine how tough it is for them when they go through it with all that extra gear that they run around with all the time. The whole experience was amazing. It was good to get out there and work hard.”

– Most improved player since the last time you saw him: “I think a guy like Jaden Schwartz. I was with him the whole time. He’s just a great guy and he works so hard. He’s definitely a guy you want to be around all the time because his worth ethic is amazing and it really shows. He’s in great shape and I thought he had a good camp.”

– Differences to last year, especially with you being the only Kings prospect: “It was definitely different, for sure, I knew that going in. Overall, it was still a good experience. I knew a lot of the other people there. So, that wasn’t a huge deal. It was still good, already knowing a lot of the staff and the players as well. Yet, it was still a different experience than last summer.”

– Any funny moments between you and your roommate Christian Thomas:  “I think probably the funniest was this – every single morning we had our wake up call at 7:45 am and the phone would be on his side. He would never wake up. So, we’d just let it ring. I wasn’t about to get up and get the phone. It was right beside him. That’s probably the only funny thing that really stood out between us two.”

– Highlights from the scrimmages:  “Overall, I think it was just going out there and working hard on every shift. Game two was tough. We had a few chances to score and we just couldn’t capitalize. After the game though, I got to shoot in the shootout and I scored. That was fun. They did the same thing after the first game, but I wasn’t one of the five guys selected that time.”

– One skill you showed off the most and/or one thing you would do differently in camp if you could go back and change it:  “Capitalizing on more of my scoring chances. I had a few chances where I should have scored (in the red/white scrimmages). But, I just couldn’t put it in. It’s something that I worked on. I thought I did well though. I thought I worked hard and I really showed there was a big step (forward) and a big improvement from last summer.”

– Plans for the rest of the summer, before coming back to LA for rookie camp the second week of September:   “I’m in LA now to work out with Tim Adams for two weeks. Then, it’s back to Ottawa for camp with the 67’s. Right now I’m just going to train and work hard to be in the best shape possible before the season starts.”

When Team USA’s summer evaluation camp ends later this week we should have interviews up with a few of the Kings four prospects invited to participate.  For the latest news on what happened up in Lake Placid earlier today, click here…or for some other interviews, see the links down below.

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