The Atlanta Thrashers Summer Hockey Camp Series Sponsored By RBC Bank wrapped up last week at the Duluth Ice Forum. The Hockey Development Team hosted a total of 5 camps with 125 youth hockey players of all ages, and three very special guests.
The action kicked off June 14th with the week long Cross Ice camp and Goalie Camp. Thrashers forward Eric Boulton and defenseman Zach Bogosian both laced up the skates, providing quite the thrill for the series’ youngest campers and some of the area’s finest goaltenders.
Bogosian returned for week two and was joined this time by Thrashers forward Evander Kane as the Hockey Development Team welcomed in the Mites, the Pee Wee/Bantams, and a group of elite players representing Thunder Hockey.
The Atlanta Thrashers would like to thank RBC Bank for their support as the official sponsors of the 2010 Atlanta Thrashers Summer Camp Series.
Check back next week for a recap video featuring some of the highlights from the camp. In the meantime, you can click here to check out photos from all of the camp action!
Every season it seems like hockey officials throughout North America struggle with finding the proper balance of practice to games with their programs. Kids love the thrill of playing games each weekend and parents love watching their kids compete, so much so that they are often willing to spend time and money to take them hundreds of miles to find the next tournament. The games are great, and there is no doubt a big part of the reason the kids keep coming back to the rink, but what are our young players missing out on when the desire to play more games means a decrease in practice time? Toronto Maple Leafs President and General Manager, Brian Burke, and Ottawa Senators Center, Daniel Alfredsson had this to say about the topic.
BRIAN BURKE: There are too many games to me, this is where Europe always has had an edge over how we do it in North America. Daniel, please correct me if I’ve got this wrong. From long conversations with the Twins [the Sedins], Markus Naslund, the practice-to-game ratio is the key. I wouldn’t mind if kids play 112 games. I think that’s way too many. I’m making a point. If they had two practices for every game. An ideal thing, if you ask someone in hockey, the ideal ratio for a young player is three practices to one game. We’d kill to get two. But in fact it’s 1-1 or less in youth hockey associations by the time a kid is a peewee. I think this is misguided.
I’ve ranted and raved about this. I think we should have more practice and fewer games. I think the parents are a big part of the problem. They don’t want to watch a practice. They want to see Johnny with four other skaters, two referees and a linesman.
We can develop the skill at a much higher level. This is something I fought. I remember years ago we started a 4-4 league in the spring just to stop kids from the burnout factor of playing all that spring hockey, playing all those games, focusing on skill and fun. Enough parents weren’t interested. They don’t want to watch 4-4, 3-3, even if guys like me tell them it’s important.
DANIEL ALFREDSSON: I totally agree with Brian. I’ve always been amazed since I came over here to Canada the amount of games the kids play. It’s important to get ice time. You need to get on the ice to get better. But especially at a younger age, if you’re a decent to average player, you’re not going to touch the puck very many times in a game. In practices, everybody can have a puck each. You can do different drills to develop your skills.
The practice-to-game ratio I think needs to favor practice a lot more, no question. Like Brian said, too, parents like to watch games.
Over 230 youth players representing six states took the ice last weekend at the Cooler for the SAHA Affiliate tryouts. The 13 year old players (1997′s) arrived in Atlanta with their eyes set on earning and invitation to a week long Developmental Camp in July that will serve as an introduction to the USA Hockey Program for some of the area’s top young talent. The remaining players, who ranged from 1993-1996 birth years, took the ice in hopes of advancing to secure their roster spot at the Southeast District Camp next month in Charlotte, NC, and ultimately a chance to join players from across the country that will compete on teams in the USA Hockey National Camps this summer in Rochester, NY.
The turnout was the largest in the history of the SAHA camp, with nearly 2.5 times as many players as attended the inaugural camp in 2000.
“We are pleased to have an excellent panel of independent evaluators come into Atlanta to help in the process along with volunteer support staff from across the six states,” said SAHA Youth Chair, Lila Holt.
The Atlanta Thrashers would like to congratulate all of the athletes who competed in last weekend’s tryouts on a great weekend of hockey and wish the participants who advanced the best of luck at the next level.
With tryouts for the 2010-2011 season scheduled throughout Atlanta for the end of May, the Thrashers will host three Checking Clinics at the Marietta Ice Center (May 15), the Kennesaw Ice Forum (May 23), and the Duluth Ice Forum (May 26). Each clinic will be open to all area players entering Pee Wee and above and will consist of a 30 minute classroom session and 90 minute on ice session.
The four part progression will focus on “Positioning and Angling,” Stick Checks,” “Contact Confidence and Body Contact,” and “Body Checking,” and will serve as a great opportunity for both experienced players as well as players set to begin playing contact hockey in the fall.
For more information and to sign up for a checking clinic today, click here!
It has been quite a season for local hockey teams here in Atlanta with the Cooler, MIC, and Ice Forum all represented at USA Hockey National Championship tournaments. The Atlanta Fire’s 12U team was the latest to contribute to putting Atlanta area hockey on the national map as they captured the city’s first ever youth hockey national title this past weekend in Reston, Virginia.
The Fire, coached by former NHL forward, Scott Pearson, used a balanced attack, strong team play, and exceptional goaltending throughout the weekend to cruise to the title in convincing fashion. Doug Giles carried the load in net playing in all 6 games while Pierce Crawford led the attack up front posting 10 goals and 6 assists in the tournament.
The Fire outscored their opponents 38-10 throughout the tournament including an 8-1 victory in the championship game over the Burlington Bobcats.
The Atlanta Thrashers would like to congratulate the Fire on an outstanding season and on bringing home Atlanta’s first ever youth hockey National Championship!
The Atlanta Thrashers kicked off their Spring and Summer Camp Series sponsored by RBC Bank earlier this week with their first annual Spring Break Camp. The sold out camp featured 3 days of on ice instruction and guest appearances from Thrashers Forward Todd White as well as Assistant Coaches Todd Nelson and Randy Cunneyworth. Day two of the camp provided all 50 campers with a number of special opportunities. That morning, prior to taking the Philips Arena ice for a practice of their own, all camp participants were invited down early for exclusive access to the Thrashers and Devils morning skates. Many of the Thrashers players took time to sign autographs for the campers as they headed to the locker room. Thrashers forwards Chris Thorburn and Evgeny Artyukhin quickly became camp favorites on the other end of the ice as they tossed pucks to the young crowd at the conclusion of practice. Next up, RBC representatives were joined by “Leo The Lion,” the official mascot of RBC Bank, as they hosted an interactive banking seminar for the campers complete with prizes and giveaways.
The event continued as the players took the NHL ice from 1-3pm for a clinic focused on “defensive skills” and “small area games,” and following their practice, many camper stuck around to watch the Thrashers in action as they took on the New Jersey Devils.
The Atlanta Thrashers would like to thank all of the families who took part in the inaugural Spring Break Camp sponsored by RBC Bank. You can check out some of the exciting action from this week’s camp by clicking here!
Click here to check out the official camp photo gallery.
The Atlanta Thrashers would like to congratulate the Atlanta Junior Knights program on a historic season that culminated with championship game appearances for both their Junior Select and Junior Elite clubs. The two teams appearances in the Junior B and Junior C National Championship Tournament finals this past weekend in Marlborough, Massachusetts, marked the first time one organization has placed two different teams into National Championship Junior games in one season.
The Junior Selects posted a 4-1 win over Suffolk in the final to take the Junior C National championship, making them the first ever Atlanta area team to win a National title at any level. Despite an incredible season and a valiant effort, the Junior Elites fell just short of their ultimate goal, losing 4-3 in overtime to New York Applecore in the final game.
The organizations owner, David Falkenstein, has worked hard to provide opportunities for Atlanta area kids to play the game at a high level and pursue their dreams of being student-athletes at the collegiate level without having to leave home to get the necessary exposure. According to Falkenstein, 7 players from this years teams have committed to NCAA programs for the fall of 2010 and he is confident that the programs first Division 1 committment is coming soon!
USA Hockey has a great article about the Knight’s and some of their “keys to success” under Head Coach Kevin Kerr. For more information on the Junior Knights program and their incredible playoff runs, click here.