Ian Laperriere tells CSNPhilly.com he recalls being drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 1992, then feeling like he was on an island while playing for Drummondville in junior.
“The only time I ever saw anyone from St. Louis was at training camp,” Laperriere recalled. “That is not right. You draft a player, you invest money and time in them, why not send someone out who is gonna follow them?”
From the draft, to college/junior, to pro.
The person now assigned to follow them as Flyers is the 38-year-old Laperriere, in his newly-appointed role as director of player development.
This is his prospect/rookie camp this week at Skate Zone, start to finish.
When these four dozen players return to their junior clubs/colleges in the fall, Laperriere will be the guy assigned to look in on them periodically throughout 2012-13. Even those overseas.
He will monitor their progress on and off the ice, their nutritional intake, their schooling (if applicable), etc.
“It’s a lot of travel, but I’m okay with that,” he said. “This is the closest thing I can do. Watch their games, see them, help them become good pros.”
You might have noticed his three on-ice assistants – Derian Hatcher, Riley Cote and his longtime childhood friend from Montreal, Joel Bouchard.
“I brought people here that I trust and know can help kids,” Laperriere said. “It’s not about me, it’s about those kids. For me to show them skills, I don’t have hands and skills like that.
“I brought people who do and who teach. Bouchard is my best friend since I was five. A guy I trust the most and has skill. He is wise and can teach those guys. He’s been doing this since he retired.
“My job is to figure out what those kids need and bring the right people to them. I put this group together because I know we can help them.”
This camp is not about making any team. That comes in September.
“It’s about having fun,” Laperriere said. “And leaving them with something.”
It’s a no-pressure environment.
“They have a chance to show what they can do, but they are not supposed to be tip-top shape in July,” he said. “But there is no excuse not to pay attention to detail. If we ask you something, listen and do it right.
“Upstairs [management], we noticed the guys who listen and the guys who did the drills wrong because they weren’t listening.”