Former Pistons Player Cole Smith (Pictured above, back left) was recently invited to compete at the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Developmental Camp. The camp ran from June 27th to July 1st and was held at the Lightning’s practice facility, The Ice Sports Forum, located in Brandon, Florida.
Every NHL team hosts a developmental camp where they feature the organizations top prospects of draftees and invitees. The camps allow players to display their on-ice and off-ice abilities, while gaining valuable exposure at the professional level.
Smith was beyond excited when he was invited to the Lightning’s Developmental Camp. “Being invited to camp was a very cool feeling. Just being able to go and experience a professional atmosphere was something that really excited me.”
With this year’s camp being Smith’s first experience at the NHL level, his goal was to show that he belonged with the rest of the players. “Going into the camp, my goals were to perform well in the off ice fitness testing by showing them what I had physically, and on the ice, I wanted to perform well and show that I belonged in the camp.” The product of Brainerd, Minnesota continued, saying, “I really wanted to take everything in and learn as much as possible and hopefully use that to develop my game.”
After a grueling 5 days of on-ice skates and off-ice workouts, Smith was rewarded for his hard work on the final day of camp. “The major highlight for me was my team winning the 3-on-3 tournament at the end of the camp,” said Smith who played alongside some of Tampa Bay's best prospects which included local product and Lightning's first round pick in last years draft, Brett Howden. (Pictured in the front, second from the left)
The 6’3” forward completed his freshman year at the University of North Dakota where he tallied 3 goals, and 7 points in 29 games. “My past season at UND was tremendous and its one in which I developed my game a lot”.
When it comes to the future of his hockey career, Smith is always looking to continue to grow his game and compete at the highest level of hockey. “I am always looking to continue developing my game as much as possible and my goal is to fit into a larger role with the team next season,” explains Smith. “And as a team, our goal every year is to win the national championship. After college, my dream would obviously be to pursue a career in the NHL but that dream is still a little ways away, and right now, I need to focus on developing my game in order to someday make that dream come true.”
Smith suited up for the Pistons from 2014 to 2016 where he played 92 games. He recorded 38 goals and 46 assists for 84 points in his Pistons career.
The Pistons would like to congratulate Cole on his successful camp with the Tampa Bay Lightning and wish him all the best in his upcoming hockey season with UND.