Hockey Canada’s Atlantic Centre of Excellence took part in a history-making event this past weekend as Atlantic Canada was home to its first ever outdoor Hockey Canada Skills Development Camp which was held in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick on Saturday, January 31st.
The ACOE was well represented at the event by Manager, Hockey Operations, Trevor Murphy and Development Assistant Christine Dupuis. Local Community Lead and Hockey New Brunswick Development Chair, Danny Braun also joined the local coaches and volunteers to assist in providing this opportunity to the 60 participants.
Local fire crews got the day started bright and early as they provided a 7:00 am flooding of the outdoor pond surface in anticipation of the big day. Town officials also ensured the surface was cleared of any snow beforehand, and also provided a fresh ice cleaning at mid-day of the camp. Players changed into their hockey gear at a nearby school, and were transported in vans to the ice surface where they changed from their street footwear into skates inside an enormous tent, complete with hay bales as benches. A large bonfire burned all day long outside the tent, and provided a heat source for players, parents, and camp staff. Mother Nature co-operated with the event organizers and enabled all personnel involved to have a totally unique and great day as hockey returned to its oldest roots.
Murphy has personally attended and actively participated in dozens of Skills Camps during his four years of service for Hockey Canada’s Atlantic Centre of Excellence, but even for him this one was special. “It’s been a long time since I had the opportunity to enjoy such a great day on an outdoor rink like that”, Murphy stated. “Most of us forget about the added enjoyment of playing outdoors, but this season has helped bring it back to life in all hockey circles. It was very evident that not only did the kids have a great day, but parents and staff also enjoyed themselves immensely, and it certainly added tremendous excitement to what has been a bitterly cold winter in New Brunswick!”
The ACOE hopes to make the outdoor Hockey Canada Skills Camp an annual event and move it around the Atlantic Provinces to promote this great game and the idea of development.
The town of Plaster Rock provided a great venue for the outdoor camp, and the action will continue the weekend of February 7-8 as they host the World Pond Hockey Championships, which will feature 80 teams from around Canada and the United States.
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