BROSSARD – Nothing says summer like BBQs, cottages, patios and…hockey!
The sixth-straight year of the Canadiens Hockey School is underway. From Russia and the Dominican Republic to Repentigny and Dorval, youth hockey players from all over the world have landed in Brossard to brush up on their skills.
After spending the past two years in Moscow, 8-year-old hockey star Zachary was raring to go as his bus pulled up for an off-ice session at a park close to the Bell Sports Complex.
“I’m learning a lot here, especially about puck handling,” shared Zachary, who is spending one week of his vacation in the country at the Canadiens Hockey School. “I love it!”
Zachary is one of 600 children taking part in the team’s four-week hockey school.
“For sure it’s special for him to be here,” explained Anselmo Vani while watching his son, Alessandro taking part in drills on the official practice ice of the Montreal Canadiens. “But at the same time, the more he’s on the ice, the better he’ll get – especially since he’s working closely with goalie coaches out there.”
In addition to drills and off-ice activities, campers have also had a chance to learn from some of their idols, with Andrei Markov, Yannick Weber, P.K. Subban and Louis Leblanc all stopping by the hockey school in recent days.
“Meeting the players is a bonus, but it also motivates them to work harder because they see firsthand what they can accomplish if they do,” continued Mr. Vani. “That gives them that extra push they need.”
Even when the players aren’t around, there are plenty of coaches ready to provide the added motivation the campers might need. Canadiens strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard has been involved with the camp both on and off the ice.
“What makes the Canadiens Hockey School special is it gives kids a chance to really immerse themselves in a professional hockey environment. It’s an incredible opportunity,” explained Allard, who also gives seminars to the kids about what it takes to become a pro athlete. “I’ve seen a lot of camps that are more like day cares. Here, we integrate a lot of the exercises we do with the actual Canadiens players. Our goal is that they leave here having learned a lot.”
Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis.
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