Game on!

Hockey camp underway to start new season in Rankin Inlet

October 21, 2015

The second annual skills-development camp to begin the local minor hockey season is under way in Rankin Inlet this week.

The camp ends Oct. 23.

Players from a number of Kivalliq communities are taken part in the camp, along with Rankin players in the initiation, novice, atoms, peewees, female, bantam and midget divisions.

Camp co-organizer David Clark said the three major player registration drives were completed this past Friday, Oct. 16.

He said the upcoming season is going to be a busy one for Rankin minor hockey.

“Every player who registered for minor hockey in Rankin was automatically registered for the camp,” said Clark.

“We also have a lot of out-of-town kids who came in for this year’s camp, especially from Naujaat and Chesterfield Inlet.

“The camp was free for all minor hockey players in the Kivalliq, but they had to be registered and pay their own way to Rankin.

“And we have a number of kids who are attending the Arctic Winter Games (AWG) bantam tryouts this coming week who came in for the camp so they could have an extra week’s ice time.”

Hockey North and Hockey Canada instructor Debbie Strome is in the community to help with the camp before conducting a clinic for minor hockey coaches this coming weekend in Rankin.

Junior ‘C’ and AWG assistant coach Aaron Kopak of Naujaat has returned to this year’s camp as an instructor, along with Clark, KJ Putulik and Roger Tagoona.

Nine Rankin midget-aged players are helping with the on-ice sessions for the younger age groups.

Adriana Kusugak and Tagalik Eccles are handling the personal-growth and literacy sessions.

The camp is divided into four groups, with initiation and novice-aged players being in one group, atoms and peewees in the second, bantam and midget in the third and female players in the fourth group.

Clark said off-ice training is also a part of this year’s camp, which will end this coming Friday with a game and pizza party being held for each age group.

He said the players are pumped to be back on the ice and excited a new hockey season has officially begun.

“We received $15,000 through the Health and Wellness community cluster fund to cover most of the cost to run the camp.

“With midget players who help out, basically, we look for players who are leaders, willing to take the initiative with programs like this and be good role models for the younger kids.

“With the exception of Deb (Strome), who offered to help out, the camp is all community orientated.

“The camp gets the kids into good habits at the beginning of the season and gets them engaged in hockey to start the year in a fun and productive atmosphere.”