LOS ANGELES – Four players from German champion Eisbaren Berlin went to California this week, not for vacation at the beach but for an ongoing 10-day development camp of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.
Development camps are usually for the prospects within an NHL organization, drafted players from European clubs, junior or college teams, or players from farm teams. However, the common denominator with German national team players Florian Busch, Frank Hordler, André Rankel and Alexander Weiss from Eisbaren Berlin is not the draft, as they haven’t been picked, but the club owner Philip Anschutz.
The invitation for the Germans is a result of the partnership between the Kings and Eisbaren Berlin, who play in the Champions Hockey League next season. The players were accompanied by GM Peter John Lee, head coach Don Jackson and assistant coach Jeff Tomlinson.
“The development camp is primarily to learn. Our guys can gain new experiences and they can see that they’re not far away from other prospects in the system,” Lee said. “They also can present themselves and maybe get the chance to be invited for the training camp in September. It’s a unique experience for the coaches and players, and we count ourselves lucky to have this kind of relationship with the Los Angeles Kings.”
Head coach Don Jackson is also happy with the camp: “Our players can keep up with every young player in the world. The camp shows them what a young player has to do in order to play in the best league in the world. They will come back to Berlin with much more knowledge about how to reach this level.”
It’s not the first time that undrafted overseas prospects are attending an LA camp. The Kings also invited players from Servette Geneva a few years before, but the Swiss club doesn’t belong to the Anschutz Entertainment Group anymore. In the last two years, the Kings also invited Constantin Braun, a 2006 sixth-round draft pick from the Eisbaren organization.