Pictured are Kyle Bonis & Aaron Schmit at the Chicago Blackhawks camp
Big Rapids, Mich. - Five members of Ferris State University's 2011-12 NCAA Division I National Runner-Up men's ice hockey team are currently taking part or have competed in official National Hockey League (NHL) Prospect Camps this month.
Goaltender Taylor Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan), who completed his collegiate eligibility this past season, is working out with the NHL's San Jose Sharks this week while fellow graduated classmate Aaron Schmit (Grafton, Wis.), a forward, is taking part in the Chicago Blackhawks camp at the same time.
Along with the two graduated players, two current student-athletes are also midst NHL development camps. Forward Kyle Bonis (Lindsay, Ontario), who will be a senior this coming year, is also at the Blackhawks' camp while forward Garrett Thompson (Traverse City), who will be a junior in eligibility in 2012-13, is with the Calgary Flames.
Another Bulldog forward, junior-to-be Cory Kane (Irvine, Calif.), was one of 41 invitees to the Toronto Maple Leafs camp held July 2-5.
Bonis and Schmit are among 52 invitees to the Blackhawks' camp, which runs until Friday (July 13) at Johnny's Ice House West in Chicago. Meanwhile, Thompson is one of 39 prospects at the Flames' camp this week and one of only 12 to be invited on an amateur tryout agreement.
Nelson is among 41 players invited to the Sharks' development camp, but one of only three goaltenders in the camp that runs to Friday.
The prospect camps give NHL clubs the opportunity to evaluate some of the game's top prospects from the junior, collegiate and professional levels. Players take part in daily intrasquad contests along with sessions on player development and on-ice workouts among other things.
Together, the five played a large role in Ferris State's historic campaign this past season. In 2011-12, the Bulldogs claimed the school's second Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Regular-Season Championship in the last 10 years, won the NCAA Division I Midwest Regional title and reached the national championship game at the NCAA Frozen Four.
Ferris State University's most impressive season on the ice in school history came to a close in the national championship game at the 2012 Frozen Four in Tampa (Fla.) with a 26-12-5 overall record. It included a first-ever trip to the Frozen Four and a national runner-up finish. FSU's 26 wins in the 2011-12 campaign are the second-most in school history.
The title game appearance in 2011-12 marked the first time in school history any Bulldog team had ever competed in a national championship game. FSU won or tied 19 of its final 23 games of the season and had an impressive nation-leading 15-game unbeaten streak during the season along with a number one national ranking in both polls for two weeks in February.
Ferris State's runner-up finish and final second-place listing in the national polls are both tops all-time in FSU annals. The Bulldogs will return 18 players from this past year's team for the 2012-13 campaign.
Below are the five Bulldog players taking part in NHL Prospect Camps:
Kyle Bonis - Chicago Blackhawks
Cory Kane - Toronto Maple Leafs
Taylor Nelson - San Jose Sharks
Aaron Schmit - Chicago Blackhawks
Garrett Thompson - Calgary Flames