NoCo Hockey Camp gears up for fourth year in Canton
CANTON – Canton natives Wade Megan, Kyle Flanagan and Mark Phalon are preparing once again to bring their advanced hockey knowledge to the young players of the North Country at NoCo Hockey Camp at SUNY Canton beginning July 29.
They each bring knowledge of the game from the professional ranks to share with youth players at the camp. Megan spent 11 games this past season in the National Hockey League with the Detroit Red Wings, while also recording 48 games with Detroit’s American Hockey League affiliate, Grand Rapids.After retiring from a six year professional career mostly in the AHL, Flanagan now works as an amateur scout for the Ottawa Senators.
Phalon is an assistant coach at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and has also spent time with the Toronto Maple Leafs as a video coach.
Megan was recently a guest on the Blue Line Hockey Club, a hockey podcast run by local hockey buffs Pat Sullivan, Derek Hetu, Marc Morley and Rob Peters.
“We have just tried to step it up every year. We try to get better and better,” Megan said on the podcast. “This year is going to be a huge step forward. We really put a lot of time into the practice plan and we really just try to teach some of those skills that maybe you don’t get a chance to work on all the time throughout the season and throughout regular practice time.”
New to the camp this year are a couple of on-ice training aids that Megan said will help add another level of skill development to the 50 minute ice sessions, including a Give-n-Go which rebounds hockey pucks to evolve a player’s shooting skills, and The Pro Screen, which is a large tripod that causes roadblocks for players and challenges their ability to shoot through screens and traffic.
“Something I noticed a lot in playoffs is all the blocked shots. You’ve got to have your head up when you’re shooting,” Megan said. “There are always going to be guys trying to block the shots so it’s getting tougher and tougher. On top of that, it’s tough to beat goalies just straight up, so I think shooting through screens is a great skill to have.”
Megan said he, Flanagan and Phalon have plans to grow NoCo Hockey eventually, but for now it’s all about working out the finer details and making their hometown a priority.
“First of all, we want to take care of the younger Canton players coming up through because all of us are so grateful to have grown up in Canton. It did so much for our careers, it was just such a great place to grow up, so this is our way of just doing something good for the community and helping out the young players,” he said.
“We think the three of us have a lot of hockey knowledge to pass along and a lot of little stuff we want to implement to help younger players just get better at hockey and really hop on the ride that the three of us have enjoyed,” Megan said. “It has been so much fun, so we want to try and provide that opportunity for players to build a path and create value for themselves as players and hopefully go on to have a great career, whether it be playing or coaching or video. There are a lot of opportunities in hockey, so that is kind of where we are coming from.”
NoCo Hockey Camp will run from July 29 to Aug. 9 at SUNY Canton’s Roo House.
For more information, visit nocohockey.com.
Megan’s full interview on the Blue Line Hockey Club Podcast can be found at bluelinehockeyclub.com.