Keeping the skating strongPolar United Club welcomes back Quantum Speed for skating clinicJames McCarthyNorthern News ServicesPublished Thursday, April 25, 2013
Minor hockey has been done in Yellowknife for a few days but the learning doesn't stop once the snow melts.
Instructor Daniel Starosta helps Michael Iatridis during an exercise at the Quantum Speed skate camp at the Multiplex this past Sunday. - James McCarthy/NNSL photo
Approximately 75 young people from age eight to 17 were back on the ice this past weekend for the latest edition of Quantum Speed's skating clinics at the Multiplex. The clinic was organized through the Polar United Club for Kids, or PUCK.
Club director Dan Schofield said the one big thing that was different was the instruction staff who made the trip up from Edmonton.
"Normally, we get two experienced instructors and one who's kind of in training, but this time we had three really good experienced instructors," he said.
The young players were put through their paces in everything skating by instructors Vanessa Hettinger, Britney Millar and Daniel Starosta, such as working on quickness, strength and starts and stops, which represents many of the skills a good hockey player needs to have in his or her arsenal.
Schofield said he and the parents noticed the drills were a bit more challenging this time.
"Every time they come up, they vary it around just a bit," he said.
Hettinger said because they've seen most of these players for the past couple of years, they were able to get into some more advanced techniques.
"There was lateral skating, acceleration and transitions, even for the little kids," she said. "That was cool because they can see how it all relates to the game and when you've done all the basics, you can get into the more exciting stuff."
She also said the instructors try to keep everyone within their own age group, but if there are those who excel and can show they can do the next level, they're not opposed to moving them up.
"We try to challenge each player but when we're instructing, we make that choice about moving up the top end players," she said.
This latest session began the final year of a three-year contract the club signed with Quantum Speed to deliver the clinics in Yellowknife; each year has seen three sessions of clinics at various times of the calendar year. The next clinic is scheduled for Labour Day weekend and the final one will be held just before Christmas.
Schofield said the popularity of the clinics is obvious, judging by the number of players who sign up.
"Yellowknife is always starving for hockey camps," he said. "We're a long way away from other places and camps aren't very cheap. When you go down south to one, you have to factor in hotel rooms, airfare and time spent away from work and it gets really expensive. Having these opportunities in Yellowknife makes it far more affordable for families."
Players in the city demonstrate a desire to build their skills, Hettinger said.
"For a relatively small hockey community, the intensity level and ability is quite high," she said. "I think that has a lot to do with what Dan has through his club and what other people have done in the community."