With hockey season right around the corner, Jason Gordon and the Hockey 1st Skills Academy took the ice to give local minor hockey players a chance to hone their individual skills before their respective seasons. The camp, which is for IP to pee wee aged players, focused on individual skills that often can be ignored or looked over during a hockey season where winning shares the focus with skill development. The camp featured a variety of accomplished coaches as well as an assortment of high level junior players from the WHL to Bantam ranks. The day camp is capped at around "70 novice to pee wee aged players, who register early in order to ensure they get in for the summer," explained Jason Gordon, camp founder.
Coaches for the camp included Gordon, who is a scout for the Prince George Cougars as well as coach for Yorkton Minor Hockey, Scott Musqua former Harvest head coach, and Leona Kitchen a power skating instructor. Player instructors for the camp were; John Neibrandt a former WHL Champion with the Kootenay Ice who is headed to play for the Vancouver Giants for this WHL season, Taylor Thompson a Yorkton Terrier and Prince George Cougars WHL product, Kale Thompson a Yorkton Terrier goalie going into his second season with the team after a 2.69 GAA in his rookie campaign.
Spencer Bombior a Yorkton Harvest goalie who is trying out for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL, Adam Neibrandt a Bantam prospect who is trying out with the Calgary Hitmen, and Matt Kustra, a WHL draft pick of the Prince George Cougars, rounded out the camp instructors.
With an impressive list of experience and skilled players and coaches, the camps participants were given a chance to learn skills from people who know what it takes to succeed at the next level as well as get instruction from a different angle. A point that was not lost on Jason Gordon, who mentioned that most minor hockey players are coached by parents during the season, and that these skill development camps give players a chance to hone skills in a more specific way.
Gordon also mentioned that having an NHL player in Cody McLeod was huge help to the camp as it excited the kids and showed them that it takes hard work to reach your dreams. Gordon also realizes that the most important thing to skill development in the minor program is passion for the game noting, "If they are enjoying the skills they are more apt to learn and develop." Gordon also continued that being a balanced athlete is also important and that while summer hockey is great, playing summer sports and having fun outside of hockey is of equal or greater importance. Gordon includes dryland sessions in his camp in which the kids learn new games and sports outside of hockey. Gordon thanks all of the coaches and parents who helped out with the camp as well as his family, who he said is a huge help in operating the behind the scenes operation of the camp as well as during the hectic week of sessions. Hometown Cycle and Sports also was mentioned in helping sponsor the camp.