Camp Notebook: Mac Bennett
“I feel really good. Being here helps me realize the importance and the extent of everything that’s happening right now and I’m learning a lot, on and off the ice,” explained the young blue-liner, directly following a battery of physical tests. “It’s a really useful and complete experience. On the ice, we’re learning how to improve our skating and how to make sure we’re shooting properly. At the same time, we’re also learning training techniques as well as how to handle pressure and the media.”
When it comes to his immediate future south of the border, the Warwick, RI native is brimming with optimism. Completely healed after a knee injury that limited him to just 15 games at Hotchkiss last season, the offensive defenseman will be suiting up for the USHL’s Cedar Rapids Rough Riders in 2009-10.
“I’m definitely going to have a great time next year, but I’m particularly excited for 2010-11, when I’ll be heading to the University of Michigan to play for the Wolverines,” admitted Bennett.
Bennett will follow in the footsteps of a number of NHLers when he dons the Michigan blue and gold, including two of his future Canadiens teammates. Max Pacioretty and recent signee Mike Cammalleri both honed their skills as Wolverines under legendary coach Red Berenson, a former Canadien in his own right who won the Cup with Montreal in 1964-65.
While he may only be in Montreal for the week, the 18-year-old couldn’t be happier here in his future-adopted city.
“I still can’t believe how into it the fans are here,” added Bennett, referring to the hundreds of Canadiens fans who have flocked to the Bell Sports Complex to check out the stars-in-training this week. “There’s nowhere else where you’d get this many fans to come and see a bunch of young guys getting skating lessons. I couldn’t have asked to be drafted to a better team.”
Chances are good that a few years down the road, those same fans watching him learn the ropes today will be at the Bell Centre in person, welcoming Bennett back to Montreal for good.
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com
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