In an extended effort to provide the best instruction for local youth hockey players, Protec Ponds is proud to announce the naming of their training rinks as the Joe Gambardella Training Center! This change comes after a year of Joe Gambardella teaching clinics and camps at Protec Ponds, and the great impact it has had on our players’ progression.
A letter from Gambardella:
Protec Ponds Ice Center welcomed me with open arms in the summer of 2017. When I first arrived at Protec, the owner, general manager, and staff provided me right away with the resources and friendly attitude that helped me instruct young players in a comfortable atmosphere. I was able to tell right away that Protec was a great fit for me when I noticed their coaching staff interacting with the players, correcting them on every drill, and demonstrating proper hockey techniques, which is something Protec takes much pride in.
The two pond surfaces located in the northern end of the arena have become such huge components in the development of our hockey players. The ponds allow me to spend crucial time with the players and break down every part of their game, starting with their stride technique, stickhandling tendencies, shooting habits, competitiveness, while also sharpening the players hockey IQ. The game of hockey has evolved over time, and the speed of the game has grown immensely. Working with the players in direct 1-on-1 sessions or small groups of up to 4 players allows me to engage with the players and really focus on each part of their development.
Growing up, all I wanted to do was be on the ice as much as possible, and there was only one rink nearby so ice time was limited. I remember when Alex Kasatonov, the former New Jersey Devil and member of the 1980 Russian Olympic team would come once a week in the summer and skate with us. It was a great learning experience, but it only came once a week. Protec is generous enough to allow me to work with our players 5 days a week, up to 8 hours a day.
This sport has given me the best experiences of my life, including playing for the Atlantic District USA team, Junior hockey for the New Jersey Rockets, and the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL in Iowa, all before receiving a scholarship to play college hockey for UMass Lowell. It was there where my dream came true and I received an NHL contract from the Edmonton Oilers. Now, it is a tremendous honor and pleasure to be able to give back to the greatest sport in the world, and the players and families that make it so great.