WILMINGTON – Among the high draft picks, young minor league players, and heralded junior stars at this weekend’s Boston Bruins developmental camp was Boxborough’s own Wayne Simpson.
Simpson, a rising senior at Union College in Schenectady, NY, was one of several collegiate players invited to participate in the camp.
“It was a really good experience,” Simpson said. “Learned a lot of new stuff. I thought I got a better idea of professional hockey and what not. It was everything I expected it to be.”
During Monday’s final day, Simpson looked strong during the power skating drills. He capped the camp off with a nifty goal during the hour-long scrimmage that ended the camp. Simpson took a pass from Colin Campbell and was able to tuck it under the goaltender’s arm to finish off the weekend in style.
A resident of Boxborough for just over a decade, Simpson said that being able to wear the black and gold, even in an abbreviated setting, was a cool experience.
“It means a lot,” Simpson said. “It’s a big sports city around here, and they really like the Bruins. I’ve lived here from a little over ten years now and I’ve started to bleed black and gold. It felt special to put on a jersey even just for a few days.”
Among the players at the camp were recent first-round draft pick Malcolm Subban, 2011 first-round pick Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Spooner, Seth Griffith, and Tory Krug.
Simpson said playing against players like those mentioned above was a challenge and motivated him to perform at the highest level.
“It’s a good challenge and a good opportunity to play against some of the best players in the nation,” Simpson said. “It just motivates you to see what you can do against them. You’ve got to work hard to be effective out there. It does motivate you a bit I think.”
After a stellar season at Union that saw him score 18 goals and helped the Flying Dutchmen to their first Frozen Four in school history, Simpson said that he thinks that playing against pro-level players will make him a better player at the collegiate level.
“I just think it was a good experience for a couple guys to go out to different camps and get an idea of professional hockey,” Simpson said. “It makes you a better college hockey player. There are some of the best college hockey players in the nation around at these things. It gives you an idea what you need to work on. I think it’ll help me have a good senior season, and I think our team can do a lot next year.”
Simpson and the Union hockey team begin their season on Oct. 6. The Flying Dutchmen will play twice in Massachusetts this upcoming season: Oct. 26 at American International College and Nov. 9 at Harvard.