It was a half week of training and learning for about 40 youth registered in the Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society and Denisiqi Service Society’s Sixth Annual Hockey Camp.
The camp, which ran Monday to Wednesday this week at the Total Ice Training Centre, was primarily for First Nations youth.
Bruce Baptiste, who helped organized the camp along with several others, said it’s extremely helpful for the kids.
“It’s very beneficial,” Baptiste said. “Most of these kids have played hockey in the past but there are a few who have just started learning how to play the game. This just introduces them to the game of hockey, and it’s teaching them a lot of the basic skills.”
Kids aged six to 18, both male and female, participated in the camp. Baptiste said it also helps break down barriers between First Nations and non-First Nations youth.
“We also have some non-natives participating,” he said. “That way the kids are all intermingling and it helps break down those racial barriers.”
The camp was divided into three sections — a cultural workshop section, a dry land portion and an on-ice training session each day.
“For the cultural workshop, or just workshop, we did a unit on nutrition one day, then some smudging the next — and that teaches them part of their culture — and then we’re doing some stretching and team building,” he said.
Tyrell Lucas, owner of Total Ice, taught the dry land portion.
“He did a really good job,” Baptiste said. “He was really good, really professional.”
Wednesday night the camp wrapped up with a dinner and banquet in the Gibraltar Room.