STONE HARBOR - John Stevens attended the Philadelphia Flyers' annual "Trial on the Isle" plenty of times as a spectator.
On Wednesday, the former St. Augustine Prep standout was one of the players whom the fans came to see.
Stevens was one of several new prospects attending the annual event Wednesday.
"I grew up watching these," Stevens said. "My dad (Los Angeles Kings assistant coach John Stevens) was with the Phantoms and Flyers for a long time. It's cool to be able to wear the colors now."
The "Trial on the Isle" is part of a five-day minicamp that the Flyers hold each year for prospects. This season, Stevens is one of five players at the camp who have close family connections to the organization.
Nick Luukko, a sixth-round draft pick of the Flyers in 2010, is the son of Peter Luukko, the president and chief operating officer of the team's owner, Comcast-Spectacor.
The Flyers also invited Trevor van Riemsdyk, whose brother James was traded by the team to Toronto recently; Greg Coburn, whose brother Braydon is a Flyers defenseman; and Chase Hatcher, whose father, Derian, is a former Flyers captain and current player development coach.
"I like the attitude here this year," Flyers strength and conditioning coach Jim McCrossin said. "They've all got the desire and want to improve."
McCrossin has helped run the "Trial on the Isle" for 13 years. He said each year the camp seems to get better.
The prospects arrived in Stone Harbor on Wednesday morning and participated in a workout led by members of the military, followed by a kayak race. In the afternoon, they hosted a street hockey clinic and an autograph session at Stone Harbor Elementary School, and then another street hockey clinic at the 80th Street recreation complex. They finished the day with a charity softball game against a local men's team, the Stone Harbor Stars, and a barbecue dinner with fans.
Stevens, who played the last two seasons at Salisbury Prep in Connecticut, said he is taking the camp as a learning experience.
"I used to come to the prospect camp with my dad each year," the 18-year-old said. "The guys always seemed so much older, and now I'm one of them. It's been a lot of learning for me."
Stevens, of the Sicklerville section of Winslow Township, helped lead St. Augustine Prep to the state Non-Public quarterfinals as a sophomore in 2010. He plans to play next season for the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the United States Hockey League before beginning his collegiate career at Northeastern University.
At the autograph session, fans got to interact with the prospects including 2012 first-round pick Scott Laughton and second-rounder Anthony Stolarz.
Stolarz, an 18-year-old goalie from Jackson Township, will play at the University of Nebraska-Omaha next season. He said he feels fortunate to be selected by a team close to his hometown.
"It's been great, the support from my family and friends," Stolarz said. "I'm happy to be close to home."
Stolarz added that he settled in quickly during camp and that his family will come to watch during scrimmages later in the week at the Flyers' practice facility in Voorhees.
"At first I was a little nervous," Stolarz said. "I didn't know what to expect. But I showed up and adapted."
Laughton, who played for Oshawa of the Ontario Hockey League last season, said he took advice from former Flyer Ian Laperriere to come to camp with an open mind.
"It's definitely been great," Laughton said. "This is my first time in Philadelphia and being around the fans. It's been fun. They're passionate and have intensity which is a good thing."
Current Flyers Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier participated in the "Trial on the Isle" last summer and became major contributors for the NHL club. McCrossin said he could see that trend continuing.
"There are a lot of future professionals in this room today, too," McCrossin said.
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