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Former Runners forward gets a shot at NHL development camp

A RoadRunners alumnus recently got quite the opportunity.

Forward Jake Kamrass, who is currently attending UMass Lowell, had the chance to attend an NHL development camp several weeks ago.

He traveled to Anaheim, Ca. where he donned a Ducks jersey for several days and competed against other top draft picks and free agents from around the country.

The experience came after having a strong junior season, where he tallied 13 goals and nine assists. As a RoadRunners forward, he also amassed 24 goals and 35 assists during the 2013-2014 campaign.

“I got a call around mid-February, and I was asked if I wanted to attend the Anaheim Ducks’ camp, and I said ‘absolutely’,” Kamrass said.

The camp got under way on June 28, where Kamrass said he and his teammates conducted a physical and were able to eat dinner in the Honda Center, where the Ducks play during the regular season.

During the first several days, they also saw Huntington Beach and attended a Los Angeles Angels game as a group.

From June 30 through the remainder of the camp, which ended July 3, he stated they had several skates and trainings per day at Anaheim’s practice facility.

This culminated in a full scrimmage on the last day of camp.

“Finally, on the 2nd, we had a 5-on-5 scrimmage, and our team won 1-0,” Kamrass said. “I was fortunate enough to have an assist on that play.”

He said that the experience gave his motivation for his senior season a kick start.

“It was a very fun experience, and the level of intensity I was able to play with those guys was great,” Kamrass said. “Usually during the summer, you don’t get chances too often to play at that high of a level.”

RoadRunners head coach and Jake’s older brother, Josh Kamrass, stated the camp shows what can happen when players work hard.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to have some guys go to NHL development camps in the past as well, and it’s a really proud moment to see any player get that chance,” Josh said.

While his collegiate career has certainly helped shape who he is today, Jake stated he still has very fond memories of his time in Topeka.

He reiterated that the experiences players will have during their time as RoadRunners will benefit them for years to come.

“Playing in the North American league really allows you a chance to get acclimated to the speed and intensity the game will have from that point forward,” Jake said. “You have to set realistic goals for yourself, and when you reach them, you have to keep improving day by day. Even if you can get one percent every day, at the end of the day, you’ll know you gave it your all.”

Now with the recent experiences under his belt, Jake is hoping this will carry over to a strong senior season. UMass Lowell has been on the brink of the Frozen Four the last several seasons. Former RoadRunners defenseman Avni Berisha is also a member of the River Hawks.

He also stated his success could not have happened without the RoadRunners fans behind him.

“I just want to give a shout out to the fans back in Topeka,” Jake said. “They are such a great fan base, and it really helped drive us as players to get where we want to go.”