Jay Williams at Washington Capitals Development Camp
As a kid, the Washington Capitals got Jay Williams interested in hockey.
Years later, the former TPH Thunder player got to wear his favorite team’s jersey as an invitee at the Capitals’ development camp two weeks ago.
“It was such an awesome experience,” Williams said. “Being able to go to the camp for the team I grew up cheering for at the rink I grew up playing at was unbelievable.”
The rink – Kettler Capitals Iceplex – is located only 15 minutes from Williams’ home town of McLean, Va., creating for a memorable week with the Caps.
At the camp, the goaltender learned what it takes to make it as a pro hockey player and went through various on-ice and off-ice events.
“Being on the ice with all these talented and bright young players and to have the opportunity to work with the Caps’ coaching staff was pretty special,” Williams said. “It was such a cool opportunity.”
Williams is coming off of an outstanding career at Miami University, where he played in 87 games and posted a goals against average of 2.37 and save percentage of .909. He finished his career with a 46-29-4 record and established himself as one of the top goalies in the entire country.
Prior to Miami, Williams tallied great numbers in the USHL with the Waterloo Black Hawks and Sioux Falls Stampede and was an integral part of the TPH Thunder 16U and TPH OHL Cup teams.
“TPH was so helpful for me with preparation and leaning how to take care of your body,” Williams said. “They helped me great ready to perform consistently at a high level. The coaches at TPH know what it takes to get to the next level.”
Nathan Bowen, TPH president and managing partner and Williams’ former coach, said the Thunder were fortunate to have him.
“It was obvious to us that he would play at a high level in junior hockey, Division I college hockey and professionally,” Bowen said. “He had the athletic ability to play at those levels, but what separated him from his peers was his level of compete and mental maturity as a young goaltender. He lives a hockey lifestyle, is committed to training and improving and was mature beyond his years.”
Williams, who was named to the 2016 NCHC All-Academic team with a 3.38 GPA, said playing with TPH helped him reach the goals he set growing up.
“Learning from my TPH coaches and playing in the tournaments we played in gave me every opportunity to perform well,” he said. “Playing for TPH, you’re going to get seen and get opportunities to move on and climb the ladder.”
Currently an NHL free agent, Williams is evaluating his options and hopes to sign a professional contract this summer. The 6-foot-2 goalie said he’s honored to be considered a role model for younger TPH players who are hoping to advance their hockey careers.
“I remember when I was younger and the kids you looked up to made it and had the opportunity to move on and play in college or professionally,” he said. “That was your inspiration and your motivation to continue to work hard. It’s excited to be in the position to have kids look up to you and have them know that the opportunity is there for them as well if they work hard.”
Total Package Hockey is one of the largest hockey service providers in the country, offering youth and adult programs from Detroit to Atlanta. TPH provides programs, which are staffed by highly qualified elite hockey coaches and professionals, to more than 4,000 players each year. With programs in 18 total U.S. cities, including teams in the NA3HL and T1EHL, TPH specializes in skill-based player development and has a track record of moving players to junior, college and professional hockey.