Aug 14, 2013
With the Air Force Academy summers broken up into three three-week periods, most cadets spend one of those periods at home. For most cadets, that three-week leave period is filled with spending time with family and friends, maybe some time at the lake, fishing or playing golf.
But for Falcon junior defenseman Dan Weissenhofer, part of his leave was spent in camp with the NHL team he grew up watching.
This past summer, Weissenhofer was selected to participate in the Chicago Blackhawks Development Camp from July 7-12 in Chicago, Ill. Weissenhofer, who grew up in Naperville, Ill., 28 miles from the United Center in Chicago, was among approximately 50 prospects, ranging from draft choices to free agents and current minor league players. Throughout the week, each day was jam-packed with workouts, testing and scrimmages.
"It was an unbelievable experience," Weissenhofer said. "To be able to play with guys of that caliber and to put on the Blackhawks uniform was incredible. I grew up in Chicago and have been a Blackhawks fan for as long as I can remember so this was an amazing experience."
Weissenhofer played in all 37 games for the Falcons last season on the blue line and had 13 points, all assists. His +14 was the second best among the team's defensemen. This past spring, he was named an assistant captain and will wear an "A" for the 2013-14 season.
“We are very proud to have had four players selected to participate in NHL Development Camps over the last three summers," head coach Frank Serratore said. "It is gratifying to see how the top players in our program are viewed by teams from the best league in the world.”
Three Air Force players particiapted in NHL Development Camps in the summer of 2012. Andrew Volkening, a 2010 graduate, was in camp with the Florida Panthers, while Kyle De Laurell, a 2012 graduate, was in camp with the Chicago Blackhawks last summer. Adam McKenzie, currently a senior defenseman on the Air Force hockey team, was in camp with the Washington Capitals last summer.
"I felt like I blended in pretty well," Weissenhofer said. "There was some great competition and it was nice to know that I was able to skate right with them. The speed of the game was a step faster and the skill level was a little higher than what I was used to, but I felt like adjusted pretty well. It was nice to get back on the ice to compete and being able to do it with the Blackhawks was a surreal experience."