ATLANTIC CITY - The parking lot at Flyers Skate Zone on Wednesday was about half-full and only a small handful of fans sat outside the locked doors.

A steady stream of cars rolled by on the Black Horse Pike, but most people seemed oblivious to the fact that inside the ice rink was one of the most impressive collections of hockey players ever assembled in Atlantic City.

Claude Giroux, Alex Ovechkin and 19 other NHL stars were in town for the three-day Bauer Pro Camp, a series of video and photo shoots for Bauer apparel commercials and advertisements. There were seven 2012 All-Stars and seven more players who were All-Stars previously. The rest were young phenoms.

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Bauer has held the event three of the past four years, each time renting the rink in Atlantic City, but this was the first year that fans or media found out about it, said Steve Jones, the company's global brand marketing director.

"There's a lot of product (in the shoots) that won't be released to the public until March or April of next year, including new skates that we don't want anyone to see, so there's a reason we lock it down, close it down," Jones said.

Even Wednesday there were fewer than 10 autograph seekers outside for most of the day.

"In the age of Twitter and Facebook, people find out about it, but we did it two years before and nobody ever found out about it before," Jones said. "Obviously, there's excitement when you have guys like (Steven) Stamkos, (Henrik) Lundqvist, Ovechkin. ... It's hard to keep that group under wraps."

Bauer also did photo and video shoots at Revel, where the players stayed Monday and Tuesday night. The players were shuttled back and forth between the casino and the rink throughout the days.

"I don't think they expected to see people here for autographs," Danny Mauer, 32, of Galloway Township, said after getting Patrick Kane's autograph outside the rink.

Mauer and a few others got autographs and pictures as the players went to and from the Bauer SUVs. But a lucky few - Skate Zone employees and their friends - were allowed inside the building.

"It's a cool experience because nobody really knows about it, but we're still able to see all the players and enjoy it," said Eric Coyle, 19, an Atlantic Cape Community College student and friend of a Skate Zone employee.

Coyle said the best part was watching the players scrimmage.

"It's pretty much like your own little miniature, private all-star game, pretty much, because you've got some of the best players in the world," he said.

Skate Zone employee Josh Feehan, 17, of Absecon, said his favorite part was meeting the three Philadelphia Flyers at the camp: Giroux and brothers Luke and Brayden Schenn.

"Claude Giroux is my idol, and I got a picture with him, got his autograph, which is unreal," Feehan said.

Former Flyers captain Mike Richards was back in town after winning the Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings.

"It was kind of a short trip, but it was fun," Richards said. "Seeing everybody again, just being back with them and sharing some laughs and some stories, I think that's been the most exciting part and the most fun part."

The players didn't get to do much while they were in town, though. Even a roller-coaster ride for Giroux and Stamkos on the Steel Pier was for video cameras.

"We've been busy pretty much all day every day," Brayden Schenn said. "So we haven't done a whole lot."

One highlight for Schenn, though, was seeing his brother take the ice in a Flyers uniform for the first time since being acquired from Toronto. James van Riemsdyk, who went to the Maple Leafs in that deal, also was at the SkateZone to don his new colors.

The footage from this week will provide an entire season's worth of material for brand campaigns and product launches. Aside from some candid shots posted on Twitter, few people actually will see what went on inside Skate Zone until the commercials and ads come out. And that's the way Bauer wants it.

Going unnoticed is just one reason the company likes Atlantic City, and why Jones said if Bauer holds the event again next year then it likely would be here again.

It's easy for players from all over the world to get here, as some flew into Philadelphia and some to Atlantic City International Airport. And it's not a tough sell to get the players to spend a few days at Revel.

"It's the perfect location," Jones said. "Right on the beach, and obviously the amenities are what these NHL stars are used to.

"I don't know if we'll do this next year. But the place is great."

Contact Jason Mazda:


The following players were present at the Flyers SkateZone in Atlantic City this week:

David Backes, Blues

Jordan Eberle, Oilers

Brian Elliott, Blues

Claude Giroux, Flyers

Jack Johnson,

Blue Jackets

Evander Kane, Jets

Patrick Kane, Blackhawks

Ryan Kesler, Canucks

Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers

Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

James Reimer,

Maple Leafs

Mike Richards, Kings

Tyler Seguin, Bruins

Brayden Schenn, Flyers

Luke Schenn, Flyers

Eric Staal, Hurricanes

Jordan Staal, Hurricanes

Marc Staal, Rangers

Steven Stamkos, Lightning

Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks

James van Riemsdyk, Maple Leafs

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