Hay River Minor Hockey players received some top notch instruction over the weekend as part of the Puck Masters hockey camp put on by the Hay River Minor Hockey Association and the GNWT Department of Municipal and Community Affairs.
Young athletes from across the South Slave region met up in Hay River for classroom, on ice and dry land training, in order to further their hockey skills.
Various instructors were brought up from Edmonton for the workshop, each bringing years of hockey experience to pass on to the minor players.
On ice drills ranged from power skating to balance to cross overs and everything in between.
Dry land training provided the athletes with workout techniques and class room sessions taught about the importance of nutrition and healthy living.
But another thing that the instructors tried to bring to the ice was a positive attitude.
“We use lots of positive re-enforcement,” said Kim Kiddle, PuckMasters instructor, former pro and power skating and rehab specialist with the LA Kings and Anaheim Ducks.
“If someone feels bad, we build them back up.”
This was the first time the instructors had been in Hay River, and they were all impressed by not only the players but the town itself.
“We have been treated like gold here,” said Bob Verstraete owner and manager of PuckMasters Edmonton.
Kiddle said that he hopes that the kids learned a lot from the camp, and take away skills that encourage them to continue playing the sport.
“I want them to be more confident in themselves,” he said.
“And have a good feeling of ‘hey, maybe if I can put my mind to it I can do something with hockey. Maybe even get a scholarship.”
“I want them to love the sport, and maybe they will be able to give back to a hockey team like I have.”
Janice Daniels, vice-president of the HRMHA was pleased by the turnout and the quality of the camp this year.
“I think it went really well. It was good to see the kids from Fort Providence and Fort Smith,” she said.
“We will try to do this every second year to give the kids a chance to see different coaching and different experiences.”
Overall, she said that feedback on the camp had been positive from the parents, but the most important thing was the hockey players, who took full advantage of not only the ice time but of the nutritional information sessions as well.
“The kids have come off the ice smiling,” she said. “They look like they are having fun.”