An Inside Look At Flyers' Prospect Camp With Kyle Mountain
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of interviewing Kyle Mountain, a former Penticton Vee (BCHL) and New Hampshire Monarch (EJHL) who is heading to the University of Vermont in the fall (You can check out that interview here). Kyle was an invitee at this year's Flyers' prospect camp - the second summer in a row - and we spoke earlier today about the differences between this year's camp and last year's, Trial On The Isle, paintballing with his fellow prospects and a Flyers veteran, and what lies ahead for the young forward.
This was your second visit to Flyers’ prospect camp. Were there any differences between last year’s camp and this year’s?
They changed the format quite a bit. Last year, we had scrimmages every day, and this year, they completely changed it. There was a lot more practicing and just one scrimmage. The big change was spending less time playing in games and more time working on development and fundamentals – whether you’re a 4th line guy or a first line guy, that’s important. So that was the biggest difference that I noticed.
Ian Laperriere was one of the coaches at camp this year. How much did it mean to be learning from one of the toughest and most inspirational guys in the game?
It was really amazing experience. I had never met Lappy before this week and I talked to him quite a bit. He’s such a great guy, one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. He really cares about the guys. I could tell he really cared about me as a player and a person. When it’s time for business, he’s all business and he’s serious, but off the ice, he likes to kick back and have fun. He actually played paintball with us and talked a lot of trash. It was great having him around. I felt comfortable around him. He’s a people person, and just a great guy. Any hockey player, I don’t care who you are or what team you’re from, you gotta look up to him.
We, as fans, got to form our own opinions on the prospects by seeing them at camp. After playing alongside these guys, who really stood out and impressed you?
A lot of people have asked me that, mostly about Schenn and Couturier. There was a lot more talent this year, a lot more skilled guys. You could tell the guys were there to get better. For me, it was great because I got to play against these guys who are all really good hockey players. So to face them was a great experience.
Speaking of the fans, how great was it to see the large turnouts at practice every day?
It was amazing. It says a lot about the city of Philadelphia and the fans and how much pride they have their team. In the US, it’s hard to come across people who are talking about hockey in the summertime, but in this city, they love their team so much. They want to see what their team is doing and how it’s developing and how it’s coming up. It’s more than going to games throughout the season. The city’s love for the team is pretty deep.
Your team [including prospects Kevin Marshall and Marcel Noebels] took the gold medal in this summer’s Trial On The Isle, congratulations on that. Can you talk a little bit about the event and what it meant to get the win?
It was great. Last year, my team came in second place and we were pretty close to winning it. But all I’ve heard this past year is about Testwuide winning Trial, and I’ve wanted to win it so we’d have bragging rights. It’s fun to be able to compete, and it’s really great to have bragging rights for a year. It’s a fun day and a long day, so to be able to win it all was pretty cool.
Along with Trial On The Isle, you guys got to have some more fun off the ice with team bonding exercises like paintballing. Did you do anything like that last year?
We did Trial On The Isle and went to a Phillies game together last year, so the organization tries to get us away from the rink. It allows guys to loosen up a little bit, have fun, get the pressure off, and get more comfortable with each other. As the week goes on and guys get to know one another better, it makes it better on the ice and there’s more chemistry. People are more comfortable and less nervous. There’s definitely less pressure. I think it’s really good that they allow us to get off the ice and spend time together.
You’re heading to UVM this fall with fellow prospect Nick Luukko, and you’ll have your brother nearby at Northeastern. Does it make the transition easier to have some familiar faces nearby?
It definitely helps. You know, I think having those two around will help a lot. From who I’ve met on the Vermont team, they’re all really great guys, and when I visited, they were all very welcoming. Learning from my brother’s experiences with playing college hockey, it’s been great to learn from him. Having Luukko there will help a lot. We’ve known one another for a while, so it makes things more comfortable.
Aside from camp, what have you done this summer as far as training and conditioning?
My focus is on getting stronger. A lot of it is on the ice, working a lot on my skill level on the ice. My decisions with the puck, things like that. I would say those are the two main things I’ve been working on. It involves a lot more than lifting weights and stickhandling.
What’s next for you?
Most of our team heads up to school in mid-August, so I’ll head up then. I don’t think we start practicing until the end of the month or the beginning of September. Guys will get the chance to hang out and get to know one another, get comfortable with one another before we get on the ice.
*You can follow Kyle on Twitter at @k_mountain10.