July 22,2014(ISN) – “It was a great experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.” said former Salmon Silverback Landon Smith on Monday afternoon from Denver, Colorado. The 20-year-old completed his first NHL development camp this past weekend in his hometown with the Avalanche.
Smith was invited to the camp by the Colorado Avalanche in May, after leading the B.C. Hockey League in scoring this past season with the Silverbacks, his first and only Junior ‘A’ campaign in Canada, as he potted 43 goals and 40 assists for 83 points in 58 regular season games.
Joe Sakic, Avalanche Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations, said before the camp, “I know he is excited, and we’re excited to have him here. Yes, local kid. I tell you what – he had a tremendous year last year. He was MVP in the BC Junior League. He had a tremendous year and it is going to be exciting for him to be a part of this prospect’s camp and see what we are all about and enjoy that experience for him. Especially being a local guy.”
“It was incredible. It was everything that I hoped for and more. It’s not too often that guys get to go to a camp at home, which was pretty special for me and just to experience the pro lifestyle and kind of get to know the guys and stuff it was really cool, great experience,” said Smith.
Unlike some other pro camps the Av’s didn’t put their young players through on-ice workouts, instead going with all off-ice activity. “I liked it a whole lot, I mean the workouts were really tough and there were a lot of things that were pretty mentally and physically draining, but to get that experience and to workout like an NHL team does I mean it was an incredible experience and I had fun the entire time. I knew going into it that it was going to be tough and I knew there was going to be some great hockey players there so I just knew that I just had to go in and do my best and kind of hope for the best.”
Smith is now preparing for his first season of NCAA hockey with the Quinnipiac Bobcats at the University of Connecticut. Smith committed to the Bobcats during the holiday break in the 2013-14 season.
“It’s going to be great, I’m looking forward to it, and I can’t wait to go. I think it’s going to be a great new experience for me and I’ve been in touch with a lot of guys that are on the team now and it’s a great group of guys just like we had in Salmon Arm. You know it feels like a family which is something that I strongly believe in and just to see that culture on the team already it’s great and I can’t wait to get there.