By Nick Barnowski -
After choosing hunting over hockey the past two years, David Booth returned to East Lansing this week for Michigan State’s annual pro camp.
Booth, who played for the Spartans from 2002-06, joked when he said he liked hunting better, but was excited to get back on the ice at Munn.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been here,” he said. “I enjoy skating here and seeing all the guys.”
The 29-year-old hit the ice with nearly 20 former Spartans as well as a few non-MSU invites. MSU assistant coach Tom Newton ran the camp.
Much like everyone else, Booth viewed the camp as an opportunity to get ready for training camp.
“I think the drills are awesome,” he said. “I think they’re high-paced, get the guys moving their feet, handling the puck. They’ve been really good.”
The Detroit native and former Honeybaked and Compuware standout signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs over the offseason after spending the past three seasons with Vancouver.
He’s looking to stay healthy and contribute more offensively with the Maple Leafs this upcoming season.
“It’s a really good opportunity,” he said. “To be able to play with an Original Six team, probably the most sought after organization in the league, it’s really exciting.”
Booth said he’s been in contact with some of his future teammates but has only played with one of them: Phil Kessel. After spending time with the Canucks in the Western Conference, he’s looking forward to the reduced amount of travel by playing in the Atlantic Division.
“To play in the same division as Detroit is really cool since I’m from here,” Booth said. “It’s a great division and we’ll be playing some of the best teams.”
While pro camp helped get Booth ready for training camp with Toronto, it also brought him back to his college days, which he said helped prepare him for the NHL.
“You develop physically and mentally as an individual,” he said. “You get the whole week to train and the academics really prepares your mind for the NHL. It’s good to be back.”