Close to 25 kids and youth are drilling through the Terrace River Kings Hockey Camp this week, and visiting coach Ian Alger said it was great to see the kids improve in such a short time.
The kids ages 7-16 ranged from younger ones still learning to skate, to youth seeking to master more advanced puck handling.
Alger, who played minor hockey in Terrace, played juniors four years, and now lives and coaches in Calgary, said his favourite part is seeing kids improve.
“Seeing how much better these guys have gotten in the last four days… it’s been great,” said Alger, adding some of the younger kids could hardly skate and can now move around the ice quite smoothly.
“Just about every single kid, I can think of things they’ve done that surprised me,” he said, adding that seeing the improvement, and the eager keen spirit of the kids has been great.
Along with Alger, Terrace hockey players Mason Richey and Myah Bowal coached the kids through drills. Richey played in the national Telus Cup with the BC Major Midget Cariboo Cougars last year, and Bowal has been playing with the Toronto Leaside Wildcats in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League (PWHL).
Both were beyond qualified to teach the kids, said Alger, adding that having older local players to look up to is inspiring, and is part of why he offered to help with the River Kings hockey camp.
“I think it’s great for minor hockey to have a senior team here. Then these little guys have someone to look up to, go to games, etc.,” said Alger. “I think its good for any association to have a higher level of hockey.”
Several River Kings players including Steve Cullis and Josh Murray dropped by on Saturday, and helping out during the week as well was a teen major midget player Logan Chapdelaine, from Campbell River, whose dad Norm played minor hockey here.
River Kings general manager Ross Smith said having 25 kids sign up was less than they hoped.
It could be because of prices, or because of the economy or timing, Ross said, guessing at possible reasons.
“This is our first time right?” he added, noting that they can adjust and improve if they decide to run the camp in future years.
“It’s just to help out the community,” said Ross about why they decided to run the camp.
“It’s to get the kids going, get the kids some good instruction… [and] they can do it in town, and they don’t have to go out of town to do it,” he said.