Ekblad impressing at Roberts-led Mentorship camp Staff

8/3/2011 10:24:38 PM

At only 15-years-old, Aaron Ekblad is a name you're bound to hear plenty more of the in the future.

Ekblad is one of 42 bantam-aged hockey players taking part in this week's All-State All-Canadians Mentorship Camp led by 21-year NHL veteran Gary Roberts.

The camp focuses on skill development under the guidance of former and current NHL stars and includes advice on strength and conditioning, nutrition and mental preparation from some of the most renowned hockey experts.

Despite his young age, the 6-foot-3, 185 pound Ekblad is already drawing comparisons to some of the best defencemen in the game.

"He moves the puck well, skates well and he's a big guy so I can see why people would think he's like a Chris Pronger," said Roberts.

Ekblad was taken by the Barrie Colts with the first overall pick in this spring's OHL draft. He is only the second player, along with John Tavares, to be given exceptional players status allowing him to play in the league at such a young age.

He is a two-way defenceman with loads of offensive potential and scored 67 points in 62 games last season at the minor midget level.

But it's not his size or skills that have caught the eye of six-year NHL veteran Chris Campoli, who is instructing at the camp.

"The thing I was most impressed with when I met him was his work ethic," said Campoli. "It's his eagerness to learn and then listen to what we were telling him.

"You know he's a special player."

Roberts is equally impressed with the young man's approach to the game.

"He's got a great attitude," said Roberts. "You can already see the maturity."

A big fan of Red Wings' captain Nicklas Lidstrom, Ekblad has remained humble despite all of the expectations and attention.

"I just try to think of myself as the person I am," said Eklbad. "Just respect everyone and realize that everyone is equal."

You can watch Ekblad and the other top bantam prospects this Saturday in the Allstate All-Canadians Mentorship Cup, an inter-squad exhibition game that will be broadcast on TSN2 at 2pm et/11am pt.