USA Hockey Spends Summer at Daemen

By | July 26, 2022

For the past month, USA Hockey has hosted multiple camps for young elite prospects at Daemen.

While hockey matches and practices were held at the nearby Northtown Center in Amherst (and livestreamed on, players were housed, coached and took classes at Daemen. 

Campus also hosted visits by prominent professional hockey players and coaches, as well as college and National Hockey League (NHL) scouts. 

Buffalo Sabres coach Don Granato gave a motivational speech to players in Wick Social Room

USA Hockey players enjoy some downtime on Daemen’s campus

NHL player Jack Hughes, the first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft who plays for the New Jersey Devils, spent time and ate with campers at Daemen. Hughes is a former member of the U.S. National Development Team and attended similar camps in the recent past.

This summer marked the second consecutive year the nation’s top players – ages 15, 16 and 17 – attended camps at Daemen. It’s believed many in the group will become professional hockey players in the next few years, and dozens of campers had already committed to play for college teams. 

The Amherst campus featured prominently in pictures posted to USA Hockey’s social media feeds. Goalie and officiating (referee) camps also took place on campus and at Northtown.

NHL star Jack Hughes (right) socialized with campus on Daemen’s campus

Daemen provided access to its outdoor recreation space, game room, and additional amenities for players to bond and build relationships. Players were also able to rewatch games, analyze video and gain feedback for improvement using classroom space and equipment. 

“USA Hockey was looking for a new home last year coming off of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Danielle Vallone, director of conference services at Daemen. 

She added, “The feedback I have received from USA Hockey has been positive. Everything is localized conveniently on campus, making it easy for them to navigate. For instance, the dining hall and shuttle pickup location are all at the center of campus at the Wick Center, which is also next to the apartments and outside recreation space.”

Vallone added that Daemen staff is “always on hand to go the extra mile. We also provide flexible scheduling to accommodate the players’ tight schedule during the camps.”

The top 20 players from the camp for 17-year-olds at Daemen were chosen to represent the U.S. in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, to be played in Red Deer, Alberta starting July 31. They will compete against teams from Czechia, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and others. 

The games will be broadcast on the NHL Network.