Every time defenseman Bobby Nardella goes to a development camp, he takes something from the experience.
‘‘Those camps are just a lot about growing on the ice and off the ice,’’ Nardella said.
Nardella, 22, skated for the Golden Knights last week after participating in camps with the Penguins (2017) and Blue Jackets (2016). The son of Wolves assistant and longtime defenseman Bob Nardella, Bobby will be a senior blue-liner this fall at Notre Dame and will be looking to improve on a 2017-18 season in which he helped lead the Fighting Irish to the NCAA championship game.
Participating in the Knights’ camp and competing against top junior and college players, along with a handful of guys who skated professionally last season, only can help Nardella as he prepares for his final college season.
‘‘I’m just learning a lot, how to be a pro,’’ said Nardella, who was also part of the Notre Dame team that played in the 2017 Frozen Four at the United Center. ‘‘There’s a lot of skilled guys there, some guys that you never really play against.’’
One thing the 5-9, 178-pound Nardella knows he needs to do is to keep getting bigger, faster and stronger.
‘‘That’s why the summers are huge,’’ Nardella said. ‘‘Do a lot of weightlifting, a lot of working out, so that by the time the season comes around you’re in good shape, you’re strong.
‘‘I think for me the biggest thing is to get bigger and stronger, so that on the ice I can defend well in my own zone and make it hard for forwards to play against.’’
Nardella, who played for the Chicago Mission youth hockey program and spent two seasons in the U.S. Hockey League, has been around hockey his entire life. He hopes to continue his career after college, but he said he’s focusing on finishing strong at Notre Dame.
‘‘I’m excited to be a senior here . . . hopefully be a leader,’’ Nardella said. ‘‘If I play well and I get strong and have a good season, hopefully I could have an opportunity to play professional hockey somewhere. I don’t really know where that’s going to be, but I for sure want to keep playing after I’m done here.’’