Harry Thompson of USA Hockey Magazine notes today on the USA Hockey Web site that this week’s Olympic orientation camp has involved some team building through the efforts of general manager Brian Burke and coach Ron Wilson. The U.S. team candidates met with some real life heroes at camp in Woodbridge, Ill. Here’s part of the story:
“I want to build a team and some camaraderie,” said Wilson, who will be coaching in his second Olympics. “You can never become a team unless you can trust the guys to the left, right, front and center. That’s what we’re trying to establish here.”
There may be no better way to drive that point home for a group of young players than to have them hear it from a real-life American military hero.
As part of the team-building efforts that are at the epicenter of the three-day camp in Woodridge, Ill., the U.S. brain trust brought three decorated veterans to talk about what it means to be part of a military unit and fighting not only for yourself but the person next to you in the foxhole.
Army Rangers Joe Dames and Chad Flemming, along with Navy Seal Michael Thornton each described their military experiences on the battle field in chilling detail, and how they wouldn’t be here today without the support of those in their unit.
“That room was pretty intense last night, to their stories and to hear what these guys did and what they accomplished and what they did for our country, it’s just amazing," said veteran forward Scott Gomez.
“They were trying to get the message across that you are a team, whether you have to accomplish a mission or you’re going for a gold medal. Everyone has to be on the same page. Everyone has to be focused on the goal at hand. There’s going to be stuff that’s going to happen. You have to back each other up.”
New Jeresey winger Jamie Langenbrunner of Cloquet is among the Olympic candidates.