It’s official – hockey is off and running in Yellowknife.
The Multiplex played host to the Dust The Rust camp over the weekend with everything wrapping up on Sunday with more than six dozen players from Yellowknife, Hay River and Inuvik hitting the ice and gymnasium; the out-of-town players came as part of mandatory training for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
The Yellowknife Sporting Club organized the weekend’s festivities and Darren Wicks, who helps run the club, said it went about as well as it could have.
“You go down south and you’re paying around $800 for the same experience these kids had this weekend, not including hotels, shopping, food,” he said. “Here in town, the kids joined in for less than half that.”
The camp was open to players from novice to bantam with every group getting several on-ice sessions along with fitness sessions in between at William McDonald Gymnasium. The on-ice work was done by Chad Carder, a goaltending coach from B.C., who’s worked with several junior teams, and Craig Carlyle, a player development expert with the San Diego Jr. Gulls.
Brad McNamara from Athletes Nation based in Alberta, looked after all of the off-ice fitness and Wicks said that covered everything from head to toe.
“They did strength training, cardio and pre-game and post-game routines for recovery,” he said.
The three guest coaches were actually the ones who put everything together for the weekend, Wicks added.
“We talked to Chad and Craig and Brad asked how we could make this work,” he said. “It’s easy for us to say to them ‘OK, here it is’, but how can we do it so the goalies are involved? We were able to flip-flop goalies where they got training with Chad for one hour every time.”
As mentioned, this camp was mandatory for the players hoping to make the trip to Red Deer, Alta., for the Canada Winter Games this coming February and Wicks, who was part of the evaluation group at the tryouts last month, said those players wanting to go have to be better.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for them but they need to understand that they need to be ready,” he said. “They need to be fit and I think we’re lacking in that area so by Having Brad come up and show them what they have to do, that’s going to help them huge.”
He also said McNamara provided each of the players with a fitness program so by the time the Games roll around, they should be in peak condition.
“You have Jessica Cox and Mirsad Mujcin, both of who have been at that high level before, and when they’re telling you that we aren’t where we should be with fitness, that should be an eye-opener,” he said.
When it comes to the campers, Bradley Bartlett said the best part was having coaches come from out of town to show them new things.
“The coolest part was having someone come from San Diego and teach us new stuff,” he said. “It was fun to work with all of them.”
Emma Carey was one of the Canada Winter Games players and she said it was a chance to get to know the team better.
“Just have fun this weekend and have some good team bonding,” she said.