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Vol. LXIII, No. 32
 
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
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SHARK TANK: Princeton University men’s hockey star goalie Zane Kalemba turns aside a shot in action earlier in his career. Last month, rising senior Kalemba, the ECAC Hockey and Ivy League Player of the Year, last winter, spent a week at the San Jose Sharks development camp.

PU Star Goalie Kalemba Sharpened Skills During Camp With NHL’s San Jose Sharks

Bill Alden

In the early stages of this summer, Zane Kalemba’s preparation for his senior season with the Princeton University men’s hockey team centered on workouts conducted in the Garden State.

“I had been coming down to the Princeton Sports Center and skating with Sam Sabky, Brad Schroeder, and Dan Bartlett,” said star goalie Kalemba, a resident of nearby Saddle Brook. “I have also been doing a lot of stationary bike and off-ice training.”

But in late June, Kalemba got a call that changed the course of his summer training and sent him to the Golden State for a stint with the NHL.

“One of the head scouts of the San Jose Sharks, Tim Burke, called me and said they would love to have me come to their development camp and I jumped at the opportunity,” said Kalemba, who has caught the eye of many a scout last winter when he posted a school-record goals against average of 1.82 and was named the ECAC Hockey and Ivy League Player of the Year.

“He was a coach at Princeton in the mid-1980s and he saw me in high school at Hotchkiss. He’s been following me at Princeton.”

In preparing for the camp which was taking place at the Sharks Ice practice rink in San Jose, Kalemba reached out to former Tiger teammate Mike Moore, who has been rising up the ranks with the Sharks and had played in the camp last summer.

“I called Mike Moore and he told me what I needed to bring and what I needed to expect,” said Kalemba of Moore, who starred last winter for the Worcester Sharks of the AHL and was coming back to the development camp.

“He said we would be on the ice twice a day and doing one weight session. He said that I should be expecting long days.”

Moore’s analysis proved to be on the mark as Kalemba found himself putting in 12-hour days at camp.

“At 6:30 a.m., the bus picked us up to go to the rink for breakfast,” recalled Kalemba.

“We would then have a one-hour meeting. We were on the ice for one and a half hour-sessions. The weight room and off-ice stuff would take about one hour. We would stretch with foam rollers and do the bike; there was a core group and a weight group. We did some plyometrics.”

The goalies underwent a battery of workouts specific to their position.

“We did power skating and goalie movement drills,” added Kalemba, who was one of three goalies in the camp.

“You must get the foundation down. They would watch each goalie and tell us little things that we were doing wrong. It was not an evaluation but a development camp.”

In evaluating his play at the camp, Kalemba believes he held his own on the ice.

“They get you out of your comfort zone,” said Kalemba, noting that the players also had some spirited scrimmages.

“I made some mistakes but I played pretty well. It was great having some experience going against players on the next level. Most were in the AHL; some played a half season in NHL. You can’t take a minute off; if they see a hole, they are going to take advantage of it. The speed of the shot isn’t much different; what is different is how quickly they get it off.”

The camp also helped reinforce some of the lessons Kalemba has learned from Princeton head coach Guy Gadowsky. “I took a lot off the ice; we met a lot of people,” said Kalemba.

“We talked to nutritionists; we learned more about weight training. Guys that work with Joe Thornton and Rob Blake told us how professional they are. They are in a routine everyday; they don’t take a day off. It is good to see that and learn from that. You see how they handle themselves; it is a lot of the same stuff that Guy talks about.”

Kalemba and his Princeton teammates will be looking to handle things a little better down the stretch, coming off a winter which saw them squander late leads in losses to Cornell in the ECACH semis and to Minnesota-Duluth in the NCAA tournament.

“We have worked hard and had a lot of success but learned that the playoffs are tough and we have to work that much harder,” said Kalemba.

“We know what we have to do; next year we have to play the full 60 minutes. My class and the other two returning classes are a little more motivated, a little more ticked off. Everyone knows what is required and what we have to do.”

For Kalemba, spending a week out in California should help him do some great things in New Jersey this winter for the Tigers.

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