Earlier this month, former NCDC Jersey Hitmen goaltender and Dineen Cup Champion Chase Clark made the trip to the Washington Capitals (NHL) Development Camp to give his professional rights-holders a glimpse of the future.
And what a glimpse it was. The 2002-born Williamsville, N.Y., native earned applause from several corners by making highlight saves in the scrimmages - and he hasn’t even played a single NCAA Division I game yet. Along with playing the full 2020-21 season with the Hitmen, riding it all the way to the championship, he has since been a top goaltender in the United States Hockey League, preparing for the start of his college hockey career with Quinnipiac University this season. But he served notice that he is definitely pushing to someday join the team that drafted him 183rd overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
A few examples of the attention Chase Clark received:
And now, a few words with the man himself.
USPHL: Was this your first Development Camp, or did you get to go in 2021 as well?
Clark: After being drafted in the 2021 NHL draft by the Washington Capitals, the organization informed me they were not having a developmental camp that year due to COVID.
What did you think of the way the camp was organized, and the players you played alongside? That is, how do you see the Capitals future in terms of the prospects you played with and against?
First the Capitals did an amazing job organizing the camp. It was a first class and fun experience. I had a great time getting to know all the other prospects. They have unbelievable skills and [are] all really good character guys. I learned a lot on and off the ice, from goalie coaches Scott Murry and Olaf Kolzig.
What were the toughest challenges for you at the Camp?
The demands of the tight schedule. They had us busy from early morning through the evening. I believe it gave me a taste of what professional players have to deal with.
What were the parts of the Camp where you felt you excelled?
The highlight of my camp was the main scrimmage at the end of camp. It was held at Capital One Arena in front of fans. I felt good and had a great game.
What are you working on in your game this summer towards kicking off your NCAA career with Quinnipiac?
I am currently working on off-ice training to become stronger and faster. On ice, I’m working with personal goalie coaches home in Buffalo. The same coaches I’ve had for years.