Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for July 11, 2013

Defensive hockey camp stresses the fundamentals

University of Alaska Fairbanks head coach Dallas Ferguson chipped a puck off the glass to a group of defencemen waiting at the blueline.


Photo by Marcel Vander Wier

BACK TO IT – Goaltender Cole Smith, 12, keeps his eye on the puck during a four-onfour scrimmage at the Defensive Camp at the Canada Games Centre yesterday (top). Adam Henderson Joe Martin (l-r) YUKON LEGEND – Olympic weightlifter Jeane Lassen puts young hockey players through the paces.

University of Alaska Fairbanks head coach Dallas Ferguson chipped a puck off the glass to a group of defencemen waiting at the blueline.

A youngster gloved the puck out of mid-air, before dropping it to his stick and firing a shot on net.

Three other big-name instructors – Joe Martin, Adam Henderson and Jared Tuton – completed the same drill with their groups on other parts of the Canada Games Centre ice yesterday afternoon.

Henderson and Tuton are two of the best players to ever come out of the territory.

The Defensive Camp is the second week-long hockey camp of the summer, following the lacrosse crossover camp which got things started last week.

Approximately 50 young players, ranging in age from seven to 16, are introduced to a variety of skills, both on-ice and off.

“We’re just focusing on the fundamentals – passing, puck control, skating,” said Ferguson, a former semi-pro defenceman and longtime coach of the NCAA Div. 1 Alaska Nanooks.

Understanding the fundamentals of the sport is key to the success of young players as they grow older, he explained.

“The correct technique and puck control are the most important aspects of defence,” he said. “Offence starts there. We’re keeping the puck on their sticks as much as we can, with lots of one-on-one play and two-on-one play. We’re looking for the unteachable skills – the ones that can skate and the ones that can pass. You can always teach them to play D.”

Ferguson said the young players have come a long way since day one of camp.

“I see a lot of progress,” the coach admitted.

Martin, assistant coach and general manager of the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials, agreed.

“We’ve noticed a huge change between Monday and Wednesday,” he said, noting repetition is key. “If the kids can pull one or two things away from this camp, they’re better for it.”

Martin owns the Northwestel Summit Hockey School, and said the skills young players glean in these camps are skills necessary for junior hockey.

“These kids are coming here every day to try and get better,” he said.

Olympic weightlifter Jeane Lassen spent yesterday afternoon in the Canada Games Centre Fieldhouse, putting camp participants through their paces through a variety of games.

Flexibility, range of motion, strength, speed and power were all components Lassen was focusing on this week.

“These kids go through four sessions a day – two on-ice and two off-ice,” she said. “That’s a pretty good example of what it takes to get to the next level.”

Lassen recently returned to the Yukon from B.C., where she was helping train Olympic athletes at the Canadian Sport Institute.

The 32-year-old recently worked with Christine Girard, the first Canadian female to win a medal in weightlifting – a bronze at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

While the workouts and training were tough, smiles abounded amongst camp participants.

Jake Melanson, a 15-year-old right winger who recently moved to Whitehorse from Iqaluit, said pivoting and puckhandling will be the two skills he takes away from the camp.

“Everything I’ve learned this week has been brand new,” he told the Star.

Melanson has been playing organized hockey for the past five years, and said he’s really enjoying the chance to hit the ice this summer.

“Yeah, it’s nice,” he said. “It’s my favourite time of year to be playing.”

Meanwhile, 13-year-old Shania Hogan and 14-year-old Destiny Taylor defencemen from Teslin are both spending the week in the Yukon capital for the chance to compete in the camp.

“I’ve learned how to skate backwards faster, and how to draft a player to the outside,” said Hogan. “It’s really helped my game.”

Taylor said her positioning has improved since Monday, and said it was good to be practising on ice again.

Upcoming camps are as follows:

• Offensive Skills Camp (July 15 to 19 – $325);

• Goalie Skills Camp (July 15 to 18 – $300);

• Northwestel Summit Hockey School (July 22 to 26 – $350);

• Women’s Hockey Clinic (evenings July 22 to 24 – $250);

• Advanced Skills and Team Play (July 29 to August 2 – $325).

To register, visit http://www.whitehorseminorhockey.ca.

CommentsAdd a comment

Brian Fobe

Jul 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm

It is good to see certified people come in to the Yukon to train the kids of Hockey along with Local greats like Jeane instead of having to go out for certified training from qualified trainers at hockey camps down south or up north.
We do have good parents that have good hockey skills that coach our kids within WMH, but it is good to get other prospects within the sport and show our parent coaches new things! Way to go Whitehorse Minor Hockey, as a parent of a hockey kid this saves a lot of money and should be taken advantage of this great opportunity! Hope this happens every year!

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