Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

AUTOGRAPH SESSION – Wacey Rabbit signs jerseys before instructing the participants in the Northwestel Summit and Yukon First Nations Hockey Association for the annual ‘Learning to Lead’ Hockey Camp July 11, 2018.

NHL talent signs on for Northwestel hockey camp

Leading up to the 17th annual “Learning to Lead” hockey camp, Northwestel Hockey School is pleased to share that NHL player Brandon Montour has signed on as a guest coach.

By Whitehorse Star on May 29, 2019

Leading up to the 17th annual “Learning to Lead” hockey camp, Northwestel Hockey School is pleased to share that NHL player Brandon Montour has signed on as a guest coach.

Montour is a Defenceman who joined the NHL at the age of 21 as a second-round draft pick in 2014, initially playing for the Anaheim Ducks. He was traded to his current team, the Buffalo Sabres in February 2019.

Montour is of Mohawk descent and grew up in Ohsweken, a village inside the reserve of Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation near Brantford, Ontario.

Brandon Montour was recently a teammate of Troy Stecher, playing for Team Canada at the IIHF World Championships that wrapped up recently in Slovakia. Stecher plays for the Vancouver Canucks and was a guest coach at last year’s “Learning to Lead” camp.

“It’s pretty awesome to have this calibre come to the camp,” said YFNHA coordinator Karee Vallevand. “They are great guys who want to come.

YFNHA is also pleased to be welcoming back several of our high-profile First Nations alumni for this year’s camp.

Wacey Rabbit, a Blackfoot from the Kainai Nation and professional hockey player will be joining the camp for a fourth time.

Ashley Callingbull of the Enoch Cree Nation who is a model, actor, First Nations activist and former Miss Universe 2015 is also returning for a third year as a motivational role model to our hockey camp youth. Also returning for a second camp is Arron Asham, a Métis Canadian and former professional hockey player.

“Ashley (Callingbull) is a great First Nations role model,” said Vallevand. “Wacey Rabbit plays in the ECHL and is also an amazing role model for the kids. They really take to him.

“Arron Asham really takes to the kids. He is so personable and gives individual attention to each and every kid. He also likes coming up here.”

The camp credits its enduring success to the “Learning to Lead” philosophy that places a strong emphasis on helping participants to develop leadership ability, self-confidence and communication skills in addition to on-ice hockey skills training.

Vallevand said the camp always gets a great turnout and that the First Nations mentorship is pretty cool for all the camp participants.

The 17th annual Northwestel Hockey Camp, organized and hosted by the Yukon First Nations Hockey Association will take place in Whitehorse from July 22-26th at the Canada Games Centre.

In addition to elite-level coaching and guest coaching by professional hockey and NHL athletes, the camp also offers a youth leadership development program, fun recreational activities and lacrosse, off-ice training by NHL trainers and daily motivational talks by athletic and community leaders.

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