Kids will enter safer NHL: Cammalleri

Montreal Canadien Mike Cammalleri, one of six NHL ambassadors for the Allstate All-Canadians Program that mentors developing hockey players, said he would like to tell kids the game will soon be different for them.

Montreal Canadien Mike Cammalleri, who is one of six NHL ambassadors for the Allstate All-Canadians Program that mentors developing hockey players, said he would like to tell young kids the game will soon be different for them.

"I would be confident in telling them that they will be a part of a game that's much safer to play than the style it's being played at right now because I think there are some issues that need to be addressed in the game," Cammalleri told

He said the NHL needs to take a closer look at the game, which will inevitably affect the future of many kids playing hockey.

"I think that we as a league, with the national league and the players union, we've got to address the issues that have presented itself — that's my personal opinion on it — and I trust that they will be addressed," he said.

The Allstate All-Canadians Program that Cammalleri is part of is a partnership between the National Hockey League Players Association and Allstate Insurance Company of Canada and is designed to give advice to young players in life and on the ice.

The NHLPA will be scouting and selecting the 40 best bantam-aged players in Canada. Each summer, these players will be invited to a "Next Generation" camp hosted and organized by NHL veteran and Stanley Cup champion Gary Roberts. He will be joined by Canadian NHL players and other leading hockey experts to equip the stars of tomorrow with the skills to fulfill their potential on and off the ice.

The inaugural camp is scheduled for the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ont., Aug. 3-6.

Canadian NHL players Jordan Eberle, Eric Staal, John Tavares, J.S. Gigeure and Shea Weber will also represent the organization by mentoring players in nutrition, mental skills, life skills, strength and fitness, and of course, fun.

Cammalleri, who was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round (49th overall) in the 2001 NHL entry draft, has learned a lot in his career so far, especially about conditioning.

He said players who learn about how to properly fuel and treat their bodies at a young age would have an advantage in their on-ice careers.

"It took me years to realize how I could impact my play with my nutrition and training, and I think these kids will have a huge head start if they can get that advice now as bantam players," he said.

"I had a lot of years of trial and error to get to that point now and it definitely has a huge impact on your play."

Cammalleri said he wants the young hockey-playing kids to leave the camp motivated to pursue a long-term commitment to hockey.

"I just hope they leave inspired with the concept that this is something worth working towards and that is something that is enjoyable to work towards — to be inspired to continue their careers in hockey."