Even though their season is over, the LA Kings are still gearing up for a very busy next couple of weeks. Major items remaining on the agenda include the impending trade of Jonathan Bernier, next weekend’s NHL Draft and one of the most anticipated events of the summer – Development Camp.
Approximately 25 of their top prospects will descend upon the team’s training facility in El Segundo from July 7-12. Players expected to attend include goaltender JF Berube, defenseman Nick Ebert and forward Tanner Pearson.
Each year a small number of free agents are also invited to participate. And the first such player for 2013 is 6-foot-3 right wing Cam Maclise. He comes in after just completing three years with the Brooks Bandits of the AJHL, where he was team captain, finished as the all-time leader in franchise points (216), won back-to-back AJHL Championships and helped capture the 2013 RBC Cup Championship. He was also named the 2013 Player of the Year in ‘Junior A’ by Hockey Canada and was the Most Valuable Player in the AJHL.
“Cam is as good as it gets at this level,” said his head coach, Ryan Papaioannou. “His natural abilities are something you don’t see everyday.”
Now, Maclise checks in with MayorsManor to help set the stage for his upcoming trip to Los Angeles. In the comments below you’ll get to know him a little better via our popular 10 Tidbits format…
- As of now, he’s committed to play next season at the University of New Brunswick. Obviously that could change if he earns a contract with the Kings – something a few invitees have done over the past few years. “If we start talking contracts after the camp, if I have a good showing, I’d have to make a decision. I think if the contract was the right one, I would definitely take it, no doubt, over school. I’d go that route, for sure.”
- His favorite player in the NHL at the moment is Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings. “He’s not a guy that you hear a whole lot about as far as interviews and stuff like that. He’s a pretty quiet and humble guy,” Maclise explained. “He has some of the best offensive talent in the NHL and does some pretty amazing things with the puck. He’s just as good in his own end and does things defensively very well, and that’s why he plays so much. He’s also a smaller guy, which makes it tough. I just have a lot of respect for what he’s done and the way he goes about things.”
- San Jose captain Joe Thornton is somebody Maclise is often compared to. “I think that’s pretty close to how I would describe myself as well,” he remarked. “The strongest part of my game is probably my ability to be able to think and react quickly.”
- During the off days in Brooks he was known to hang around the bowling alley. “Small town, Brooks, Alberta, not much else to do. We’ve got a bowling alley there, an arcade, that’s about it. An old movie theater that’s probably 50 years old. You have to find some things to do when you’re living in a small town like Brooks. But, I wouldn’t say I’m a good bowler, I guess I try to do my best and see what happens. In a game of five-pin, my score is probably about 150. You guys don’t have five-pin down there, do you?” Uh, no. No five-pin bowling and we play football on a 100-yard field. Sorry.
- On his scraggly, almost homeless look much of the past three seasons: “I have short hair now and no facial hair. So, showing up to camp clean-cut. All three of my years in Brooks though we had a team rule, you couldn’t cut your hair. So by the time we got to the playoffs, we all had the long flowing hair – and you couldn’t shave either once the playoffs started. So, by the end of that, it was looking pretty scruffy. But, overall, I’m more of a jeans and flip-flop guy. Small town guy, wear track pants to the rink everyday. That type of thing.”
- The flight from Edmonton to LA is a little over three hours. Will he be reading or listening to music to help pass the time? “Maybe a bit of both. I’m a big country music fan, listen to a lot of county. Don’t read a whole lot though, but I’ll probably grab a magazine or two at the airport and read it on the way down. I’d probably pick up a Hockey News and Men’s Fitness or Men’s Health, something like that.”
- Time for some Kings trivia. Five jerseys have been retired by the team. How many can you name? “I don’t know if I can name one. Is Robitaille one? Dionne? Hrudey? That’s all I can think of.” Wait. You’re from Alberta, grew up an Oilers fan and you didn’t say Gretzky? “Well, I wasn’t sure if Gretzky was up there too. I knew he was in Edmonton, I didn’t know if they did both.” Rogie Vachon was before his time too. So, two correct answers? Not bad.
- Nick Crosby, a teammate of his, was killed in a car crash in 2011. The Bandits dedicated the following season in his honor and he’s remained an inspiration to the team. “He had a huge impact on us,” shared Maclise. “It’s a sad story and tough for his family and tough for the team, too. The kid inspired us. We had a great year after his passing and that win was for him. We got our championship rings after we won the AJHL two years ago and we had engraved on the side NC23, which was Nick Crosby 23. I think even through this last year, too, there was four of us who played with Nick and we drew a lot of inspiration and motivation when we got in tough times from him. he was definitely with us the whole way.”
- He spent the 2009-10 season in the WHL with the Edmonton Oil Kings, where he played against Kings prospects Brandon Kozun, Linden Vey and Jordan Weal. It was another challenging experience that he looks back on now as one those ‘defining moments’ in life. “I went up there and had a tough year, a tough experience and wasn’t too sure about hockey after that year,” Maclise recalled. “It was a tough choice, stay in the WHL or go back to the AJHL…When it came down to it, I just wanted to have fun and enjoy the game. When I was up there, I got caught up in a lot of stuff and wasn’t enjoying it, wasn’t having fun. Obviously, you have to work and you have to earn things, but you have to have fun doing it…(The coaches in Edmonton) wanted me to think hard about it and make sure I made the right choice. They still wanted me, they wanted me to stay, they were pushing me to say. In the end, I had to make the decision myself with the help of friends and parents. It was a tough choice. But in the end, I’m happy with the way it turned out. I think getting invited to this camp proves it doesn’t matter so much where you play if you work hard. If you want it bad enough, people are going to find you if you’re a good player and you have good habits.”
- Some of Maclise’s strength also comes from his parents. After complimenting his mom for all that she’s put into his hockey career, including time and money, the conversation turned to his father. “I look up to my dad. He has a level head, he’s calm, he deals with stress in such a calm, collected way. So, I look at myself and try to model myself after him.”
And just for fun, how about a little bonus…
- He’s a right wing by trade, but everybody knows the Kings are on the hunt for a few good guys to play the left side too. “I haven’t played a whole lot of left wing,” said Maclise. “But, obviously, I’d be willing to try it. It’d be a little bit of an adjustment I think. I’d be willing to try it though and see what happens, no question!” Good attitude kid.
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