Focusing on the details
Former NHL player trains with Athabasca and area players
Tuesday, Apr 04, 2017 06:00 am
Young hockey players got the chance to practice with a former professional hockey player at the Calling Lake Arena last weekend in a skills camp put on by Athabasca and District Minor Hockey.
Steven Goertzen, who played with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2008 and the Carolina Hurricanes in 2009, ran the two-day Smytty Skills Athabasca Spring Weekend Development Program April 1 and 2, focusing on zone circuit training, focus and intangibles.
Goertzen said it’s important at all ages to slow down and really dig into the finer details of the sport.
“I think a lot of hockey skills are the fundamentals, especially at the younger ages, but even to be honest at the older ages,” he said. “Just some things that give the kids a different perspective of small details that goes into something as simple as skating and positions.”
He also said he’s been running skill development camps for about 10 years, even when he was playing professionally.
“If you can get them to be into it and be intense, that’s half the battle. Then making sure they’re having fun, they’re going to improve without even knowing they’re improving,” he said.
Elissa Ponich, ADMH Bantam director, said they were concerned at first about having enough kids registered to go ahead with the camp. Through combining some levels, they ended up with just the right amount with a total of 45 players.
“It’s going really good, I think the kids are having a really good time which is the most important thing, and so far everybody seems really happy,” she said.
She added that being in a rural community can limit opportunities for skill training, and this was a good opportunity to have the camp come to the community.
“Lots of us travel to the city for development programs, so this was a neat way we found a group that would be willing to come out to smaller communities and run these programs,” she said.
Goertzen said he always tells the kids that the sky is the limit as far as their potential goes, as long as they’re willing to put in the effort.
“First and foremost you really have to enjoy the game. If you don’t enjoy the game then you don’t really have a chance,” he said. “If you do enjoy the game and you’re passionate about it, you start learning to focus on those details and practicing to get better, then the sky is the limit for every kid out here.”