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Once the 2018-19 season concluded, each Barracuda player returned back to his hometown or offseason hangout. Moving forward, each week, sjbarracuda.com will check in with a different Barracuda player and see what he is up to this summer. This week we catch up with Keaton Middleton.
Besides being at Development Camp in June, what have you been up to this offseason? When it first started, I was able to go out west and see my sister who lives in British Columbia. It was nice, we got a couple of days out there to relax and reset after a long season. Once I got back, I started training again, though. I’ve got a guy who’ve I worked out with for a few years by the name of Cory Campbell. I really like his training and I feel like it works really well. And we have built a pretty good relationship, too. I’ve been also trying to get out golfing a little more. I haven’t been able to do it in years past because I would lay brick in the offseason. So, I’ve been able to do that a little more. Still can’t hit a fairway (laughs) but it’s still fun.
Now that you’re a pro hockey player you were able to give up laying brick in the offseason? No, no, no I’m not laying brick anymore but I do have a good friend who just started an apple farm. I’m not working full time or anything but I’ll go out and help him a couple of times a week.
You mentioned you have a trainer, are there any other pro guys that you’ve been training with? Nope, not really. Jake (Middleton) has worked with Cory in the past. Jared McCann is a pro guy that has trained there in the past. It’s not a huge gym. It’s a small town, you know, so we don’t have a lot of pro guys coming out of here all the time. Joey Hishon is another pro guy that trains there. Basically, if you’re a pro guy from Stratford (Ontario) you’re training there.
Now that you have a year under your belt within the Sharks organization, how much easier did it make it going into Development Camp this year? It kind of helped me fall into a leadership role at Development Camp, I’d say. There wasn’t a lot of returning guys that I saw. It was a lot of new guys and a lot of new faces. Being one of those guys that has been pro for a year and around the organization, it allowed me to fall into a leadership role, I thought. You kind of know what to expect when it comes to all the testing which helps.
Have you been able to get on the ice a lot this summer? Yeah, I’ve been at it for a while now. I got my short break but I’ve been skating a pretty good amount with Joey Hishon. He started a pro skate so I go out a few times a week with him. There’s also a shooting range that just got started up this summer. It’s got a couple of nets and synthetic ice so I’ll go out there and shoot, too. For a small town we’ve got a lot of assets to train with.
Have you been spending any time with your brother this summer? Yeah, we train together so everything I’ve been doing has been with him. It’s a lot of fun to have a workout partner like that. Plus, he got a new house so it’s been fun to go over there when we’re not training.
Going into this upcoming season, what have you been working on the most? I’d say being able to make plays in small areas. As a bigger body, it’s something I need to work on. It hasn’t come easy to me, being in a small area and making the right play. If I can continue to get better at that, by working on the ice with Joey, that’s one of the biggest things I can add to my game.
Any getaways planned before you get back to San Jose for training camp? Nope, my B.C. trip was my little getaway. Just training and golfing. Like I said, still can’t hit a fairway, putt or chip but I’m getting better (laughs).
Being a taller guy, have you been able to get some custom clubs yet now that you’ve caught the golf bug? Nope, I’m still using the regular store-bought clubs. I’ve hurt my back a few times bending over to use them, though (laughs).
When are you planning on heading back to California? I’m planning on getting back in late August, early September. I figure if I get back a little early I can settle into my place and skate with some of the guys before training camp begins.