Is it too soon to start thinking about the new hockey season?
It’s Yellowknife. Every day, people are thinking about hockey of some sort.
The Yellowknife Sporting Club (YSC) is in hockey mode as it will bring back its annual summer camp beginning early next month. It will be a mixture of on-ice and off-ice instruction with several age categories getting the chance to hit the ice at the Multiplex.
Darren Wicks, who helps run the YSC, said the camp will last two weeks but players don’t have to participate in both weeks if they don’t feel like it.
“They can do one or two, doesn’t matter,” Wicks said. “We’ll be doing fitness classes, teaching the kids about nutrition. We’re planning on giving the kids a complete package.”
The camp will be open to players as young as the U7 division, all the way up to U18. There will also be a special evening session each day for U18 players and those playing junior hockey down south.
Wicks said those are going to be a bit different than the daily sessions.
“We’ll still do skills with them but we’re going to work on having them battle on the ice and competing out there,” he said. “We’re doing that in the evening because we know a lot of those kids are working during the day.”
There are weekend games planned for each division to give the players a chance to put what they’ve learned into motion, he added.
The camp was held around the same time last year but under strict rules from the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Groups were capped at a maximum of 10 with no adults able to stay and watch their child.
This time around, there will be groups of up to 20, said Wicks, and parents can stay and observe under new guidelines laid out by the OCPHO.
“We did up a letter to the CPHO and applied to change things while keeping in line with what the limits are,” he said. “We’ll keep all of the groups separate — if they aren’t on the ice, they’ll be in the dressing rooms and we’ll be following all safety procedures.”
The camp is generating interest outside of the city as Wicks said there are already players registered from Hay River, Fort Smith, Behchoko and Fort Providence.
“We have families who are looking to set up the trailer at Fred Henne (Park) or visit family here and plug in there,” he said. “We just want this to be a great lead-in to the season and get the kids back to some kind of normal when it comes to hockey.”