BROSSARD - In order to play a sport at the highest level in the 21st century, an athlete often needs to devote themselves to their craft at a young age. When it comes to several prospects in attendance at Canadiens Rookie Camp at the Bell Sports Complex, having a supportive family that lives and breathes hockey doesn’t hurt either.
Ben Duffy, the 21-year old Lower Sackville, NS native who put up 110 points in 68 games during his final QMJHL season for the PEI Rocket, gives special credit to his late grandfather for fueling his passion for hockey over the years.
“He was always a role model for me. We would often go watch NHL games together and he paid for a lot of my hockey expenses growing up,” explained Duffy.
Having signed a one-year contract with the Hamilton Bulldogs in early July, Duffy, who likens his style to that of Claude Giroux, is well aware of the improvements he’ll still need to make in order to establish himself as an offensive threat at the pro level.
“I will need to improve my power and my strength in order to stick around. Those will be the main things [that I will focus on],” he offered.
As a third generation pro, 19-year old Tim Bozon is excited to continue the family tradition.
“We have always been a hockey family. My grandfather [Alain Bozon, a member of the French Hockey Hall of fame] really started the hockey tradition by captaining and then coaching the French national team,” noted Bozon, whose father Philippe is well-known for being the first-ever French-trained player to skate in the NHL, occasionally playing on a line with superstar Brett Hull in St. Louis, where Tim was born.
“My brother and I grew up with skates on our feet, and as a third-generation player, I want to do even better than [the two previous generations],” he added.
Joining the Canadiens organization via a trade with the Rangers earlier this summer, Christian Thomas has been training with the likes of Steve Stamkos, James Neal, Steve Downie and B.J. Crombeen during the off-season in an attempt to make an impression at rookie camp.
“This is my second summer training with them. It’s great to be with guys like Stamkos and see how hard they work to be successful in this league,” mentioned Thomas.
Experiencing NHL-quality work ethic from up close won’t be new to Thomas, however. His father Steve, a hard-nosed right-winger, scored 421 goals in 1235 career games despite never being drafted by an NHL team.
Other players with well-known last names in attendance at Canadiens Rookie Camp include Jarred Tinordi (son of former Stars captain Mark), Justin Courtnall (son of Geoff and nephew of former Hab Russ) and Connor Crisp (nephew of ex-NHL coach Terry).
Jack Han is a writer for canadiens.com.
Another step in the right direction
Back on the links
Forty players to take part in the Canadiens rookie camp