A new hockey school program will be coming to Terrace this summer to provide young athletes with a more holistic approach to the ice.
The Infinite Ice Terrace Hockey School will be running from August 18 to 24 at the Sportsplex Arena, founded and guided by professional hockey coach Josh McEwan and his brother James McEwan.
Josh, who grew up in Terrace playing hockey, says there aren’t many opportunities in the Northwest to pursue the sport at an advanced level — especially having the mental and emotional support it requires.
“[We saw] there’s just no training there, so we thought it was a good opportunity to come and provide a service that isn’t here… It makes it tough on a parent, financially and time-wise [to travel for training],” says Josh. “It’s kind of a dream come true, where I can go back to where my roots are and give back in that way.”
For both him and his brother, who chose to pursue hockey professionally, they had to move to the Lower Mainland in order to have access to more programs and coaching. When visiting Terrace, they realized there’s still a gap and decided to start creating the program together last year.
Throughout the week of the program, the athletes will review essential hockey skills like puck-passing, body-checking, and learning how to handle tempers during stressful games. They will also do a lot of “energetic mindset training” that include meditation, yoga and visualization sessions.
“We really wanted to be able to equip hockey players that are either currently going through the ranks or that are up and coming, with the resources to be able to build character, their own self-worth self-confidence, the mental side, emotional side and even the spiritual side of the game,” says Josh. “So even if hockey doesn’t work out for them, then not only are they the best hockey player that they can be, but also the best person that they can be too.”
For him, he sees hockey as more than just a game and thinks it’s important to address the hardships that come along with the pursuit. He says throughout his career, he’s seen a lot of people struggle off the ice and wants to bring those conversations into their classroom.
“We saw a lot of the stuff that was going on [when we played hockey] with guys who were taking their life or are going through depression and really struggling in those different areas in their life,” says Josh. “We really wanted to be able to bring awareness to the outside of hockey, where you’re building up your own self, your inner self.”
By starting off a program like this, Josh hopes youth in Terrace and other remote communities are better equipped to play hockey with an overall healthier approach to help them overcome those psychological barriers.
“James and I have been described as players that play with heart. And we realized it’s not necessarily something that you’re born with, but it’s something that you can develop,” he says. “It’s through self-awareness, it’s through the love of the game… it’s about focusing on the person and the player that you want to become.”