Adam Mitchell’s phone rang shortly after he finished his freshman season at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he scored 11 goals to tie the team for third. His favorite NHL team was on the line, extending an invitation to this summer’s development camp.
“I called my mom,” said Mitchell, a free agent invitee from Crofton, Md. “She didn’t know what to say; she was speechless. Obviously, coming from here she was all excited.”
In a matter of years, Mitchell transitioned from working with kids at Kettler Capitals Iceplex summer camps to skating with elite college and juniors players in drills designed by the Capitals’ coaching staff. The 20-year-old likely won’t impress coaches enough to make the roster (two players who attended last summer’s development camps ended up playing for the Capitals in 2010-11). Still, Mitchell is making the most of his opportunity to practice for the hometown team while enjoying a few personal benefits.
“I just want to see what I can do out here against other good players,” Mitchell said. “Trying to stay positive and learn from my mistakes, really…I’m having fun and just trying to soak it all in.”
Mitchell said his focus this week is to improve his game in preparation for next season at RIT. Last season for the Tigers, who were 11-3 when he scored a point, Mitchell was one of two Tigers to score at least 10 goals in Atlantic Hockey Association play. He hopes the development camp will help give his skills a boost on the ice and realize his potential to turn professional before heading back to school in the fall.
“Hopefully I can realize what my downfalls are and what I need to work on,” Mitchell said. “I realize if I work hard enough, I can make it. Trying to soak everything in. Learn everything that I can and just move on from there.”