TRAVERSE CITY — Typically when your dad takes you camping, it involves a tent, a fire, maybe some s'mores.
Not so for four players at the Detroit Red Wings Development Camp.
To them, it means grueling workouts, hanging out with some of the better young players in the world in occasionally being slammed up against a wall.
Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Curt Fraser is running the camp, which goes through Thursday at Traverse City's Centre ICE Arena. His sons Casey and Jesse are here as invitees.
Chris Chelios is an executive adviser to Detroit general manager Ken Holland after a long and illustrious NHL career. Chelios' sons Dean and Jake are also in attendance.
Dean Chelios -- the elder of the two -- has been in this position three times.
"It's an experience every time," Dean said. "You finish your season and you go a couple months and then you get competition like this in the middle of the summer to kind of wake you up and get you ready for next year. It's a good wake-up call and lets you know how hard you have to compete go to the main camp."
Dean Chelios is entering his junior year at Michigan State, coming off a tumultuous season that saw the Spartans miss the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year.
"Our team didn't do as well as we wanted to," Chelios said. "Kind of a lot of problems. It just didn't work out. It kind of snowballed from the beginning of the year. Changes have been made. I love coach (Rick) Comley and I like the new coach coming in, so I hope it goes better next year."
Comley, who led MSU to the the 2007 national championship, resigned after the Spartans posted their second losing season in the last three years. Michigan State was 15-19-4, losing in the first round of the CCHA tournament 2-0 to Alaska.
Dean Chelios had eight goals and 14 points in 36 games for MSU last season, while Jake Chelios chipped in the exact same stats as a freshman defenseman. But they expect more this season.
"The minimum is to make the (NCAA) tournament, which we haven't done my first two years there," Chelios said. "That would be huge, to get in there and compete and try to go all the way. Individually, I've got to have a better start to next year. I really want to produce some offense for the team next year."
So this week's camp is the start of what Dean Chelios hopes will be a breakout season.
"Not all the guys are fortunate enough to have competition like this before going back to school," Chelios said. "It's definitely an advantage. And seeing what it takes to make it at the next level helps you at your own level in college."
And part of that is playing alongside his brother Jake.
"We hadn't played together on the same team since the second grade," Chelios said. "So it was definitely a new experience. And I like him. We're living together next year, so we're close."
Jake Chelios lived with Casey Fraser in the Michigan State dorms last year, but is moving in with his brother off campus for the upcoming school year.
"He's not a baby anymore," Dean Chelios joked.
The Fraser brothers a re a little different story.
Neither of them is what many would consider a professional hockey prospect at this point in their career.
"It is so much fun for them," Curt Fraser said. "They're 18 and 19. They're lucky to be able to come to a camp like this. It's a great experience for all these kids, especially mine. Last year, when they went home, Jesse walked into the locker room with his AAA team and everybody was like, 'Oh my gosh, how was it at Red Wings camp? What did they think of you?' He said, 'They thought I was just a real bad pick.' He has fun with it, and they're enjoying it. I'm just thrilled to have them here with me."
As busy as the schedule of an American Hockey League coach can be, this allows Curt Fraser to spend some extra time with his sons.
"This is the third year I've come to prospects camp," Casey Fraser said. "It's fun to get out there with my dad."
After practice sessions, Casey Fraser can be found laying on the locker room floor with his left knee up on the bench and a large ice pack on it to soothe an old knee injury.
The Frasers share another trait with the Chelios brothers. This is one of their few times they get to play together -- although both pairs of brothers are split up on different ends fo the Team Lidstrom and Team Zetterberg camp rosters.
"I tore my ACL a couple years ago," Casey Fraser said. "And that was the year I was supposed to play with my brother. So I never got to play with him. So this will be fun to be on the same team."
The Frasers also both go to Michigan State. Casey is a sophomore and Jesse an incoming freshman who played forward for the St. Louis AAA Blues last year.
"I play college club hockey," said Casey Fraser, a defenseman. "So it's not major junior or anything. It takes me a day or two to get used to it. It helps my game a lot, and it's really fun to get out with these guys. It's just a great experience that most hockey players don't get to partake in. It's always great to tell your buddies, 'I'm going to the Red Wings prospects camp this week.'"
"It's just fantastic," Fraser said. "I get to spend some real good time with them. They're working hard. My guys don't play professional hockey, but they love hanging around with these guys. They include them in everything. It's just a real good thing for a young person to come to. The experience is great."
SCHEDULE CHANGE: After Sunday's scrimmage game, today's camp schedule has been shortened a bit. Players will practice from 9:30-11:30 a.m. and from noon to 2 p.m. The camp is open to the public, and admission is $5 per day.
WEST SIDE STORY: A big factor in the Development camp coming to Traverse City was the expansion that was completed last year, adding two NHL-sized locker rooms and other amenities to Centre ICE's west side.
"The new locker rooms, that was a real seller for our staff," Holland said. "There's an advantage to being in Detroit. They get to practice in Joe Louis Arena. They get to see the Red Wing locker room. Obviously, this is one of the great parts of the world in the summertime. I'm not sure where we'll go next year, but for this year we're here."
FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE: The camp coincidentally started up during the Cherry Festival, showing off a different side of Traverse City than those that come back for the NHL Prospects Tournament (Sept. 10-14) or Red Wings Training Camp (Sept. 17-20) will see.
"I just got into town, so what I hear is don't go downtown," Holland joked Thursday, during the height of Cherry Festival. "So I'm going the opposite direction for supper."
Detroit's top draft pick this year, forward Tomas Jurco, liked what he's seen of Traverse City so far.
"It's really nice, the beach and the place we're staying at," Jurco said. "It feels like we came to a vacation, but it's training camp. ... But we've got to stay focused for hockey and not for the sun and everything."