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Cheap NHL Toronto Maple Leafs Womens Auston Matthews Jerseys 2017

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — Auston Matthews has heard the question on repeat for weeks.
After a resplendent rookie season, what exactly does the NHL’s reigning Rookie of the Year have planned for his encore? The answer – whatever it winds up being – began taking shape this past summer the same way it had the four before: on a sheet of ice with performance coach Darryl Belfry.

Matthews has been an eager student of Belfry’s since he saw the undeniable results of his tutelage on display by NHL stars like John Tavares and Sidney Crosby. The results of that relationship born from hours of one-on-one training have been exceptionally positive so far, but maintaining an edge in a league where speed and skill are the premium currency is no easy task.
So this summer, Belfry, who works with the Maple Leafs as a player development consultant, decided to embark on a new venture and host his own skills camp. Matthews, of course, was all in. Ditto teammate Morgan Rielly. They descended on Fort Myers , Florida (where Belfry owns a hockey school) in late August, along with the likes of Patrick Kane, Seth Jones, Noah Hanifin, Jack Eichel, Cam Fowler, Lars Eller, Shayne Gostisbehere, Mike Matheson, Jack Johnson, Ryan Hartman, Kyle Palmieri and Nick Schmaltz, to put the final days of their summer to good use.
“When you get all those elite guys out there, you really bump up the intensity and that’s what really helped coming into training camp, having done it at that level already,” Matthews said on Sunday. “Those guys have been on the Olympic teams, they’re All-Stars, they’ve been around the league and won Stanley Cups, so working with them gives all of us a competitive advantage.”
Showing off what Matthews and Rielly picked up from Belfry began at Leafs’ training camp, which wrapped up its three-day stint in Niagara Falls on Sunday, which also happened to be Matthews’ 20th birthday. Belfry’s employment with the Leafs precludes him from speaking to the media, but his reputation as a coach precedes him. He’s known for seeing the game through a different lens and drawing out the most from a player’s skill set.
At each of the camp’s four days, he split the forwards and defence up to focus on individual skills – like end-zone details, breakouts and working off the rush – before bringing everyone together to do high-tempo work in three-on-three and four-on-four, followed by an off-ice gym session.
Rielly was pleased with his offseason to that point and saw the camp as an opportunity to push himself further with “one of the best skill coaches in hockey.”
“I felt I was in great shape and feeling really good on the ice, so I felt it was time to really focus on the offensive side of the game,” he said of deciding to attend the camp. “Darryl is pretty intuitive and creative. I think it’s important to be open to what he’s trying to teach you. I’m also a believer that we have one of the best coaches in hockey [in Mike Babcock], so it’s important to listen to him too, and find that balance in your game.”
Entering his fifth year in the NHL, Rielly has experienced the league’s shift to more of a speed game in real time. Both he and the Leafs believe there’s another level he can reach in his game, at both ends of the ice, and an intensive few days with players as eager as him to push their games forward will pay dividends long term.
“When you have a chance to go train with guys for a week who are world-class players right before camp, you take advantage,” he said. “You never know what the next thing is going to be, whether it’s adjusting to more speed or skill or the systems that teams are playing, because that’s one thing that’s changed a lot, too. You have to be prepared for everything.”
The details of Matthews’ early years on the ice in Arizona, where rinks were small and puck thievery was encouraged, have been endlessly pored over since even before he was drafted number one overall. His unconventional path gave Matthews a foundation of creativity that Belfry has only been able to amplify and it’s why Matthews shuttles throughout the summer from his home base in Scottsdale to see Belfry in Florida (or Toronto) for days at a time and why the camp was the perfect chance to fine-tune his game before a season where expectations couldn’t be much higher.
“Darryl has a pretty brilliant mind for hockey. It’s kind of all he thinks about – he lives, eats and dreams it,” Matthews said. “The way he sees the game is so differently than the average hockey eye does, which is what really gives you an edge. Instead of doing a typical skate down the ice and chipping the puck in, [with Darryl] you’re forcing the defence to switch. Or if you’re an offensive forward, he really wants you spreading out the ice and doing things that can break you free so there’s more space. When you’re a skill guy you need that and he gives you tools for that.”
Other than just learning from Belfry, the camp gave Matthews a glimpse into Kane, a player he’s watched closely for years on the ice. Matthews was a sponge around the Hart Trophy winner, watching firsthand what it takes to compete at a high level season after season.
“His habits are just so good; he works so hard,” Matthews said. “That’s something I didn’t know too much about because you just look at a guy like that and he’s just gifted and so talented and skilled, but he’s worked at it and you can tell when he’s on the ice. He’s so focused and works real hard and then, off the ice, too, he’s got his own regime he goes through. I was really impressed. It was something I could take with me from there.”
In the gym, Matthews worked on getting more explosive and faster in his first couple steps, work that so far looks to be paying off as the Leafs look towards opening of the preseason schedule on Monday. And even before a new season begins, both he and Rielly could see Belfry’s camp becoming a regular part of their summer.
“Now that we’ve had a chance as players to talk about what we did that week and having one year under our belt, we know what we could change and do better to make it even better,” Rielly said. “Probably all those guys, if not more guys, would want to go back.”

Cheap NHL Minnesota Wild Bruce Boudreau Jerseys 2017

Bruce Boudreau is ubiquitous in hockey circles.

He was an extra in “Slap Shot.” In fact, he even taught Paul Newman how to take one. Wayne Gretzky once cited Boudreau — who averaged more than 100 points a season for the Toronto Marlboros of the Ontario Hockey Association — one his favorite players as kid. Over four-plus decades, Boudreau has played for or coached 27 teams, including 763 career games behind the bench for the Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild. In April, the Associated Press published an article analyzing “The Sixteen Degrees of Bruce Boudreau,” connecting the 62-year-old to each of the 16 2017 Stanley Cup playoff teams.


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Boudreau often tells friends he was put on Earth to promote hockey. This summer, he backed that up. “I kind of just said, ‘What the heck,’ ” Boudreau said. “And I bought a friggin’ hockey team.”

One year after taking over the reins of the Wild, Boudreau and his wife, Crystal, have become minority owners in a junior hockey team: the Blue Ox, an United States Premier Hockey League expansion team in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. If it sounds like a whim purchase, well, only sort of. If it feels like an uncommon extracurricular activity for a current NHL bench boss, that’s definitely true. More than anything, though, it’s a story of hockey vagabonds finally finding a home — and yes, of Boudreau promoting the sport with which he’s already so entrenched.

So how did this all unfold?

“It wasn’t planned, that’s for sure,” said Jay Witta, who is a minority owner, GM and coach of the Blue Ox. “Actually, the whole thing happened after one lunch meeting.”

Witta coached Boudreau’s son, Brady, last season for the New Ulm Steel of the North American Tier III Hockey League. Witta resigned after the season, looking for a new challenge. Boudreau loved Witta’s coaching style, so they met for a bite in April to chat. Witta suggested they should start a new team together.

“If you find a team,” Boudreau told Witta, “I’m in.”

A week later, Witta called. “Sooo,” he said. “I think I found us a team.”
Wayne Gretzky frequently watched Bruce Boudreau play for the Toronto Marlboros and has called Boudreau one of his childhood heroes. Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images
Boudreau brought the idea to Crystal. “We asked: Is it financially viable? Yes. Can we have control? Yes,” Crystal says. “And that was important because it’s our reputation on the line.” They closed the deal to buy the team by the end of May.

With 61 teams, including nine in Minnesota, the USPHL is the largest amateur league in the country. It is for 16- to 20-year-olds pursuing the next level of hockey, in some ways equivalent to the junior leagues in Canada, the primary source of players for the NHL. “We do have some NHL placements,” commissioner Richard Gallant said. “But our No. 1 goal is college placements.”

Brady Boudreau will be one of of the Blue Ox goaltenders this season. “At first [Brady] didn’t want to play for them. He said, ‘They’re just going to think I made the team because of you,’” Crystal said. “Finally, he said, ‘You know what, people are going to think that no matter what. I want to play for you.’ And now he gets to live at home, which he hasn’t done for two years.”

After last season, more than 300 USPHL players advanced to play in college — either Division I, II, III or club hockey. “There’s a void sometimes between high school hockey and college hockey,” Boudreau said. “What happens to the guys who don’t go right to D-I? This league is great, because we can keep kids playing as long as possible.”

Said Witta: “It’s funny, when you think of Bruce, you think of the gruff NHL coach. But you should see him anytime he’s around kids. He loves helping them out. At the hockey school he runs with his family, there are kids flocking around him like he’s the Pied Piper.”

Recently, the USPHL has been expanding by five to 10 teams. “Quite frankly,” Gallant said, “we’re often approached by existing NHL players or big names [who] want to lend their name and start a team, but it’s not their passion. With Bruce’s group, they laid out a very serious plan. That was the difference in allowing them to go forward.”

Witta, who has owned a marketing company for 20 years, included an 18-page outline of a business plan in the pitch.

“We all have our roles,” Witta said. “I am hockey ops. Bruce, even though a lot of it is his philosophy, is the face. He’ll get on a call with a kid for a recruiting pitch, and that has already worked. It got a guy to join our team last week. When the NHL season comes, [Boudreau] may pop in every once in awhile, but that’s his primary job. And Crystal is the busy bee. Together, it really works.”

Twenty-seven years ago, when Bruce Boudreau was playing for the IHL’s Fort Wayne Komets, as he was leaving the arena one day he bumped into a woman who worked in the souvenir shop. He stared at her and asked her how old she was. “Twenty-one,” she responded. He then asked her on a date.

Bruce and Crystal Boudreau have now been married 22 years.

“He told me he wouldn’t have asked me out if I was younger than that,” recalled Crystal, a Fort Wayne native. “I told him it was a good thing he didn’t meet me a week earlier than that.”
Crystal and Bruce Boudreau have moved 12 times in their 22 years together, every time because of hockey. They’ve built three houses. “We’ve learned our lesson, trust me,” Crystal says. “No more building. We’ll only buy new homes.” Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images
Before meeting her future husband, Crystal didn’t know who Wayne Gretzky was. “And now I’ve had dinner with him,” she says. (The Marlboros, Boudreau’s junior team, played half of their games in Gretzky’s hometown of Brantford, Ontario, one season — leading the Great One to call him “as good as any junior hockey player I’d ever seen” — and later request that dinner himself.) “I never thought it would be this way, but hockey is now my life, too,” Crystal said.

The couple has moved 12 times, every time because of hockey. They’ve built three houses. “We’ve learned our lesson, trust me,” Crystal said. “No more building. We’ll only buy new homes.”

For years, Crystal worked in accounting, then became a teller manager at a bank but gave that up when she gave birth to Brady. When Boudreau coached the Mississippi Sea Wolves of the ECHL, Crystal worked for the team in immigration — helping secure players’ visas.

Every time Bruce was promoted, or fired, Crystal was the one who closed the bank accounts and packed boxes and set up in the new city. Eventually, she became such a veteran of the routine, that every time she signed Brady up for a hockey camp, she would get it in writing that the family would get the deposit back if her husband got a new job. “Bruce gets a new phone number every time he works for a new team, but my number has always been the same,” Crystal said. “So I’ve always been the secretary. I’m everyone’s contact for us.”

In many ways, that prepared her for her current role with the Blue Ox, which is … well, it’s hard to describe. Crystal does everything from conducting background checks on billet families to cutting deals with equipment manufacturers to buying ice time. Even though she has a part-time job as a pastry chef, Crystal estimates she has been putting in 40-hour weeks for the Blue Ox.
“Every time Bruce has been fired, he’s not resentful,” Crystal said. “He’s never been blindsided. Usually he knows it’s coming. And I try to take the attitude that it’s a new adventure. I’m grateful for everything we have, but it is hard. For the coaches, OK, they go to a new team and they have built-in friendships. Guys sitting next to them in the office. We, the wives, have to meet new people, get established.”

The Boudreaus are hoping, maybe, that streak ends. “We’d like to be Minnesotans,” Boudreau said. “I don’t want to move much more. And I like Minnesota. It’s very similar to growing up in Ontario, and for Crystal, she’s from the Midwest. The people are friendly, they all know hockey. My deal is pretty long here [a reported four years], so we feel like we can make friendships.”

Added Crystal: “This wasn’t a one-year deal, it was a longer contract. In the first few weeks we met all of our neighbors, and that’s never happened before. And so with this hockey team, maybe this is something we can do for a while, and maybe pass along to our kids.”