MANKATO — Zach Palmquist isn't too old to go to hockey camp.
On Tuesday, the Minnesota State defenseman returned to town from what's become an annual mid-summer tradition for him: a few days skating with a National Hockey League organization.
Palmquist, who will be a senior for the Mavericks next season, participated in the Minnesota Wild's six-day development camp, which ended Monday night with a scrimmage at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Palmquist skated at the San Jose Sharks' camp for prospects last summer and with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012. The South St. Paul native said it was nice to be close to home this time around.
"The learning curve never stops for anybody," Palmquist said, "and I think I learned a lot this week.”
NHL teams put on the summer camps for young players in their organization and draft picks, as well as free agents they invite.
Palmquist, 23, is a free agent.
“For free agents, it gives you a good look at what's out there for teams,” he said. “Overall, (the camps are) all pretty similar. A lot of skating, a lot of learning.”
Players also attend seminars dealing with off-the-ice subjects ranging from social media to nutrition.
Wild campers took a cooking class in which they came away with a handful of easy and healthy recipes they can make on their own.
"Some guys don't realize until a camp like that this the importance of nutrition," Palmquist said. "What you put in your body is what you get out of it."
Then there's the hockey.
Palmquist said he learned a lot from coaches in the Wild organization as well as his fellow prospects. During the scrimmage, his defensive partner was 19-year-old Matt Dumba, the Wild's first-round draft pick (seventh overall) from 2012. Dumba spent most of last season in the major-junior Western Hockey League but did play in 13 games with the Wild.