Andrew Ammon was excited to get invited to the Washington Capitals prospect camp last summer.
But the Princeton University men’s hockey star never got the chance to go.
An injury sidelined the Tiger forward and kept him from participating in his first National Hockey League pro prospect camp.
When Ammon was offered another opportunity to attend the Capitals camp this summer, the Aldie, Va. native jumped at the chance.
“I definitely went in there with something to prove,” said Ammon. “Missing last year’s camp was a big bummer with the injury. I just wanted to come into camp strong this year especially after finishing the season strong. I wanted to show them what I had.”
The 6‘0, 185-pound rising junior made the most of his second chance with the Capitals prospects. He scored a goal on his first day of workouts at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va. and believes he left a strong impression on the club’s staff.
For Ammon, skating with the Capitals also meant skating with his hometown team since he moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 2001 and has been an avid Caps fan most of his life.
“I grew up in the area,” said Ammon. “I’ve been there since I was eleven years old. To go to their practice locker room and actually sit there was a pretty cool feeling.”
Like most prospects, the first outing at a professional camp can be intimidating. However, it did not take long for Ammon to settle in and develop a comfort zone on the ice.
“I really didn’t know what to expect with my first camp going in there,” said Ammon.
“Walking in there was really a feeling of the unknown. But once you start talking to the other guys at camp, you start to feel more comfortable. A lot of the guys are pretty much in the same situation you’re in, but the competition is still there.”
The competition was strong throughout the camp but Ammon feels that he more than held his own against the rest of the
Capitals’ prospects and his hard work will result in visits to Princeton’s Baker Rink by members of the Capitals’ scouting staff.
“They said they would be watching and would definitely make it up to a couple of Princeton games,” said Ammon. “Hopefully, I’m on their radar.”
Ammon is hoping to continue with the recent trend of Princeton players and the professional ranks. Former Tigers George Parros and Kevin Westgarth each were part of a Stanley Cup champion in recent years, while several other Tigers have also played on the professional level.
“Everyone that comes in here wants to move onto the next level,” said Ammon. “Now, it’s becoming more of a reality. The work you need to get there is still there, but the guys definitely believe more now that they can make it.”
Ammon came on strong for the Tigers last season, finishing with four goals and three assists in 24 games as his strong all-around game improved throughout the season. The Tigers also progressed in the second half of the 2011-12 campaign, going 4-5-4 in their last 14 regular season games before falling to Yale in the first round of the ECAC Hockey playoffs to end the winter with an overall record of 9-16-7.
“Everyone’s ready to get back and everyone is looking forward to the season,” maintained Ammon.
“We feel like we finished really strong and we were playing our best hockey at the end of the season. We’re looking forward to a great year.”
Injuries and the adjustment to a new coaching staff resulted in a slow start for Ammon and the Tigers last season. However, Ammon is excited to work with Tigers head coach Bob Prier for a second straight season as he enters his junior year.
“We did run into quite a few injuries at the beginning of the season,” noted
“Everyone is coming back and we’re on the same page. We’re looking forward to something big this year.”
Ammon believes he can make an even greater impact at Princeton this winter in the wake of his experience this summer.
“I definitely got to see top competition out there,” said Ammon. “It definitely helps my confidence. We had some other guys on our team go to camps, so it should help us.”
As Ammon continues to root for the Capitals this season, he will have a different perspective the next time he checks out his favorite team on television.
“It will be interesting to watch,” said Ammon. “I would definitely like to see myself out there someday.”