St. Louis earns an award from UVM, DiPietro opens camp, Parise’s pitch and more

By: Tim Kolupanowich, Executive Editor

@TimKolupan_

NHL players are busy throughout the summer. Aside from the countless hours spent training after a brief rest at the end the season, there are also many public appearances to be made. Here is a glimpse of what some of your favorite NHL players do to return gratitude to their fans in the offseason.

Martin St. Louis, arguably the best Lightning ever, was rewarded by his alma mater the Univerity of Vermont for all his hard work in his career. (Michael Miller/Wikimedia Commons)

Martin St. Louis attended the University of Vermont from 1993-94 to 1996-97, posting 91-176-267 in 139 games and leading them to their first Frozen Four appearance in 1996 before turning pro and working on a career what would earn him the Stanley Cup and Hart Trophy. He went back last month when the university awarded him the UVM Alumni Achievement Award which has been handed out since 1985 to those who show “outstanding achievement that has been recognized at the local, state and or national level.”

Peter Pupello of the Tampa Bay’s website explained why St. Louis was a fit for this award:

During his career as a Catamount, St. Louis was a three-time first team All-American and a three-time finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as national men’s hockey player of the year. He concluded his collegiate career as the school’s all-time leader in points and was the 1997 recipient of the J. Edward Donnelly Award as UVM’s top male senior athlete.

He finished with a school-record 267 career points, second all-time in ECAC history, and is UVM’s leader in assists with 176 and is third in goals with 91.

That success then carried over into the NHL, where St. Louis led the league in scoring in 2003-04 with 94 points on his way to helping the Bolts capture their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Following that same season he won both the Hart Memorial Trophy, as the most valuable player to his team, and the Lester B. Pearson Award, as the league MVP voted on by his peers. He became the first player since Wayne Gretzky and only the eighth in NHL history to win the Art Ross Trophy, the Stanley Cup, and the Hart Memorial Trophy all in one season.

That doesn’t even include all the charitable work St. Louis has done around the Tampa Bay community.

Goalie Tim Thomas won the same award last season after winning the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe Trophy and second Vezina Trophy. He played the same time as St. Louis, posting a career record of 81-43-15 with a 2.70 goals-against average and nine shutouts in 140 games.

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Rick DiPietro spends his summers teaching kids to be better goalies.(thegoaliestore.com/wikimedia commons)

The Rick DiPietro Goalie Camp opened yesterday at Islanders Iceworks, the Islanders’ practice facility located Syosset, NY. The camp is not only sponsored, but run by the New York Islanders goaltender. Throughout the morning on-ice session, lunch and afternoon stretching, Dipietro gets to know the players individually and does his best to help each player during the lessons.

From Travis Betts on the Islanders’ website:

“I love to do this – getting the opportunity to be with the kids and do what I enjoy,” DiPietro said. “I grew up going to these goalie camps, and any time I got to be with a professional athlete, whether it be a goalie or even a forward, it was fantastic. You forget sometimes that this is the reason you play. You come out here and see how much fun they’re having.”

Joe Laurentino brought his 10-year-old son Quinten to the camp and was impressed watching DiPietro’s involvement with the players.

“When we first came here, we knew it was going to be [Rick’s] camp,” the senior Laurentino said. “We didn’t know if he would actually be running it. To actually see him out there with the kids, it was great. He appears to be great with the kids.”

DiPietro explains how it’s always a fun camp to run because all goalies have the same quirky personality. Players at the camp, which is open to youth players of all ages, often demand coaches shoot the puck harder.

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Newly signed Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise visited Target Field last Sunday to throw out the first pitch prior to the Twins’ afternoon game against the Oakland A’s. He was given a personalized Twins #11 jersey and threw a strike to first baseman Justin Morneau.

Parise, along with defenseman Ryan Suter, signed a 13-year, $98 million contract with the Wild on July 4.

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Yannick Weber has unleashed his inner daredevil this summer. (Resolute/Wikimedia Commons)

Montreal Canadiens defensemen Yannick Weber and Raphael Diaz and New York Islanders defenseman Mark Streit got to spend the day riding in stunt planes and cars. They were invited to do so by Swiss watchmakers Breitling. After the initial plane ride in which the G Forces made Weber feel 10 times heavier, he opted to try out the Wingwalker which is when the passenger sits in a chair that has been welded to the wing of one of the planes.

From Vincent Cauchy on the Canadiens’ website:

“It doesn’t fly that high and you’re only going maybe 60 km/h, but the feeling of sitting on a chair strapped to the wing of a plane is incredible. The wind is really strong,” he described. “That day was the highlight of my summer so far, for sure.”

Following his day as a daredevil, Weber made the trek back to Montreal for a few weeks this offseason to workout with Habs strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard and take part in the Canadiens Hockey School.

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Check out the Washington Capitals’ website to see video of defenseman Mike Green, recently re-signed for three years and $18.25 million, helping out all around the Washington community. He is charitable throughout the season, helping build a playground and visiting families on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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James van Riemsdyk was traded from Philadelphia to Toronto in exchange for defenseman Luke Schenn, so he has been busy getting used to his new home. But he still has time to answer questions from fans on Twitter.

Van Riemsdyk answers questions about how he’s looking forward to playing with the Maple Leafs, if he would try playing center and if he could top Mike Brown’s mustache.

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St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Schmaltz, drafted 25th overall this year, also answered questions from fans. See what he has to say on what it feels like to be drafted and how he is looking forward to playing with the University of North Dakota Fighting Souix this upcoming season.

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