The Sunshine Coast hockey school wrapped up this week with two weeks of intense training on and off the ice.
David Arduin has been involved for five years and this year marked his fourth year running the school. He said this year was the most successful of the four.
“It just means a lot for me to come home and put this on and see the involvement of the kids and the repeat customers,” Arduin said. “It speaks volumes of not only the community involvement, but also the success of the program. It’s good to know that we are putting on a successful camp and getting the repeat clientele.”
Week one was Aug. 12 to 15 and saw a variety of age ranges from the tykes and five year olds in the morning, to the novice and first year atoms, then a large peewee group of 29 kids to the bantam/midget group of 25 in the evening.
“The first week focused on power skating with two sessions a day, so each of the morning sessions we do a different skating technique, everything from edges to stops and starts, forward stride, backward stride. And then in the afternoon we get into more skill things: passing, shooting, puck control,” Arduin said. “It covers it all in the two weeks.”
The second week, Aug. 19 to 22, was a first-time experiment for the hockey school, one that Arduin thought was a huge success.
“Each day is focused on a different skill, so Monday is defensive, Tuesday is power skating, Wednesday is stick handling, and Thursday is shooting. So basically what that offers the kids is a little more one-on-one instruction and it is done in age groups, so it’s not so much of a time commitment for the players and the parents,” he said. “It’s an hour and 15 minutes a day in their specific age session working on that specific skill.
“I worked with Tom [Poulton] with this and it’s nice to be able to have a bit more time here on the Coast. In years past, I have had to rush back to school, so we were able to do this for a second week. You see a lot of the same kids. Hopefully that is the goal of the future, so during the hockey school I can do a lot more active, high tempo drill type things and then we can bring it down for the individual sessions to get a lot more one-on-one type coaching.”
Week three, which Arduin is not involved in (Aug. 26 to 29), will feature the popular Hockey Heroes and One Goal programs.
Assisting Arduin again is his good buddy and former teammate Stefan Decosse. Sunshine Coast Minor Hockey Association players Tyler Graham, Therian Hemstalk, Justin Macey and Bethia Macey were helping as well.
“It’s always nice, as in years past, to get guys who are in the minor hockey system to be role models for the kids, and they’ve been great. We’ve very appreciative of the help,” Arduin said. “I’m thrilled. Each year seems to get better and better. It’s not only seeing the same kids, you are seeing the same parents. When you are running a business like a hockey school, is it is important to make sure the kids are working hard and having fun, but it is also the parents investing the money and you want to make sure all their questions are answered and that they are leaving with a smile on their face too.”
After the hockey school, Arduin is heading back to New York and to Geneseo, the state college of New York, for his second year as assistant coach of the men’s hockey team.
“My first year opportunity behind the bench was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was a unique situation coaching right after playing, especially starting as an NCAA coach as your first coaching job and working with a lot of the players who were your teammates at one point, but I enjoyed it more than I ever thought I would. I didn’t miss playing at all and I just look forward to getting back and getting more experience under my belt and hopefully turning that into a career for a long time to come.”