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Thunder Goaltender Relishes Opportunity at a NHL Camp

Halladay goes camping with hometown Carolina Hurricanes

By Brian Tosti, Bloomington Thunder

Just a week after Bloomington Thunder Head Coach Dennis Williams attended Chicago Blackhawks Prospect Camp as an invited coach, goalie and roster tender Logan Halladay joined the Carolina Hurricanes at their Prospect Camp. The Cary, North Carolina native was extended an invitation to his hometown team’s camp, which wrapped up this past Saturday, July 26th, and he took away some valuable lessons from his first NHL experience.

“I got called about three weeks before camp started and they said ‘we would love to have you here’. So I said ‘yes’ because I thought it would be a great opportunity, especially to be able to attend an NHL development camp not too far from home,” said Halladay. “I was extremely happy, blessed, and grateful to get the call, and I thought it would be the right step for me.”

Halladay finished his last season with the Janesville Jets of the North American Hockey League totaling a record of 18-8-0-2, including two shutouts, 2.26 goals-against-average, and a .932 save percentage. Behind Tyler Gernhofer, Halladay was the second player to join the Thunder in the offseason as the team expanded into the United States Hockey League.

After participating in the Thunder’s own camp in Orland Park, Illinois, Halladay returned home to train for the upcoming season with the Thunder. What better way to train than to spend a week with an NHL organization. According to Halladay, he learned a lot from the coaches and everyone treated him like he was already part of the organization.

“I don’t have enough good things to say about the whole organization here. The Hurricanes have been awesome,” said Halladay. “They’ve worked us hard here and it’s been a great development camp. We’ve had some good seminars, fitness testing, on ice practices, and a final scrimmage. The whole thing has been really professional.

“Their job, which they have made clear to us, is that they want to help us become better hockey players,” Halladay continued. “They want to develop us. They want us to work hard and have fun while we are here.”

As for Halladay, he knows there will be a bump in competition when he joins the Thunder this season. Prior to joining the Jets in 2013, he saw two games with the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks during the 2012-13 season. But an NHL prospect camp is a whole other leap in player skill than even the top United States junior hockey league.

“Obviously the guys here [at Hurricanes’ camp] are super skilled players just like the guys in the USHL. Everybody here can shoot the puck. Everybody here can skate. They are smart players who move the puck well, so being here has helped me get a little bit of experience under my belt and see how the play develops quicker. It’s a great way for me to get used to the kind of high caliber shots and scoring opportunities that I will see this year,” said Halladay.

“I’ve had to play with my game a little bit to see what works with the faster play. I’m learning to force guys to shoot to certain areas. It’s about learning to play at a higher pace, be efficient with my movement, and obviously stop as many pucks as possible.”

In addition to playing alongside NHL prospects, Halladay is using this time to prepare for the Thunder’s upcoming season. He says that it has given him an edge and head start going into the inaugural season. Halladay and the other Thunder prospects will report for training camp in August and will have over a month to prepare for the upcoming campaign. The Thunder open the 2014-15 season at home against the Sioux Falls Stampede on Saturday, September 27th.

But for now, being in his home state and having the ability to play with some former teammates is a great way to train. Halladay grew up playing with and against many players at the Hurricanes’ camp, including their 2014 fourth-round draft pick, Josh Wesley, who spent the 2012-13 in the USHL with Team USA, and Bryan Moore, who played two USHL seasons of his own with the Sioux Falls Stampede from 2010 to 2012.

“It has been good to be here with all of them to share this experience and meet the new guys. It’s always a little different coming to a new environment but luckily, I’m able to stay close to home here and I don’t feel too out of place.”

This year was the first that Halladay was eligible for the NHL Draft, and while he was not chosen by a club this season, there is much for the goaltender to look forward to. He will still be eligible for the draft for the next two seasons and can improve his game that much more before honoring his commitment to the University of Minnesota. That includes a full season with the Thunder, and many more camps to attend to keep his eyes set on the ultimate prize.

“Being able to be here with the next wave of guys to come up through the program has been awesome. It allows you to see how you stack up against the competition, learn a little bit, and adjust to keep up with the pace. But above all, it’s exciting to see what the next level looks like.”

 

Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 13th season as the nation’s only Tier I junior hockey league in 2014-15.  A record 35 players were chosen in the 2014 NHL Draft and more than 300 players on team rosters last season have committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.  For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League’s social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive).  Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).

It’s not just hockey. It’s the USHL.

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