Participants in last week’s Hockey Ministries International camp were in for a special treat as Montreal Canadiens netminder Carey Price helped instruct Thursday during the week-long camp.
“We tried to keep it on the down-low so today would be just about the kids and a crazy, fun day,” said HMI B.C. representative Don Richmond. “It was pretty special.”
Camp registrants arrived to the Total Ice Training Centre in Williams Lake to find Price staring at them through the glass on the ice.
Williams Lake camp director Corwin Smid said it was amazing to watch as the kids realized what was going on.
“It was exciting to see the kids’ faces when they showed up to the rink and suddenly they saw Carey,” Smid said. “They all came running around the rink and looking through the glass yelling ‘Carey’s here!’”
Price gave one-on-one instruction, held drills and had fun with the camp participants throughout the day. His dad Jerry was also on hand throughout the week giving personal instruction to the goaltenders at the camp.
“Each of the kids got to interact with them one-on-one,” Smid said. “It’s pretty special when you have a local guy here who made it big and it’s phenomenal to have both Prices here, the son and the guy who trained Carey himself.”
The camp was back in Williams Lake this year for its third stint. This time, however, with the construction of Total Ice Training Centre and the ability to host dry-land drills there, they opted to hold it at the new facility.
Smid said it was phenomenal, and added credit needs to be given to owner Tyrel Lucas and the staff at Total Ice.
“It’s worked out really well because everyone is together here and not spread out,” Smid said.
The camp combines a hockey skills component, along with a faith-based component.
Camp registrants were also provided instruction from several highly-qualified coaches including former Minnesota North Stars player Alex Pirus, U.S. semi-professional player Stacey Bauman (from Oklahoma), Merritt’s Sean O’Connor and Winfield’s Chase Anchikoski.
Richmond said the camp not only helps players improve on the ice, but also off of it.
“It’s a Christian camp we run here,” Richmond said. “There wasn’t one in this area so Williams Lake was perfect geographically for that and it’s worked out well.
“As the HMI rep in B.C. we run 39 chapel programs from junior B, Junior A, the Abbotsford Heat, and the Vancouver Canucks. It [faith] can help players in lots of ways.
“It gives them a grounding greater than the value they receive from just hockey because that can be pretty shallow sometimes, and it can also be short-lived. It can be based around fame and money, and that’s a pretty movable target.
“I see kids in their third year here and they’re changing. It’s absolutely awesome.”
Smid added a special thanks is in order to everyone who helped organize and run the camp including committee members from Williams Lake, Armstrong, Merritt and West Kelowna.