Coach Steve Latham teaches a class of 9-15 year olds at the GoalGetters soccer camp. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

KURIAL: The more sports camps the merrier

Prince Rupert doing a good job attracting professional talent, but even more is possible

The Vancouver Whitecaps Development Camp is coming to Prince Rupert next week, and with it a chance for local youth to learn skills from professional coaches, and perhaps even catch the right person’s attention en route to a career in professional soccer.

This is on the heels of the GoalGetters soccer camp a few weeks ago, where students picked up the basics of the sport under the instruction of former Canadian national team player John Sneddon.

Also in June, Prince Rupert’s young athletes took part in a basketball camp led by professional athlete Noah Dahlman. The camp was intensive, but rewarding, and taught all of its members several key points about basketball and life. All the kids went away from it with a smile.

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Tyler Stene’s summer golf camps are running throughout the summer as well, with many sessions added to handle the overwhelming number of sign-ups.

Often times these camps will be the first encounter kids have with the sport in an organized setting, and certainly the first time they are taught by a former professional. Not only does this introduce kids to new sports, but it also shows them that with hard work they can translate on the field success into their everyday lives. A professional career may not always be the case, but a sports scholarship to university certainly could be.

Prince Rupert is clearly on the sporting map in order to draw this sort of professional presence, and attracting these teams and athletes is no small feat. But is there even more opportunity we could be bringing in?

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Baseball and softball have proved to be quite popular in town, and successful too. The U-16 girls softball team just came back from provincials, and the Prince Rupert Diamond Diggers just won the Queen’s Slo-Pitch tournament in Terrace. There’s a healthy appetite for running the bases, so perhaps a member of the national women’s softball team or former Olympian could be convinced to take part.

A development camp run by the Canucks would of course be a massive draw for local youth. There is hockey talent up here, Brett Fudger’s recent signing with the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL being the current Exhibit A. There’s no telling what a week with Bo Horvat or Brock Boeser could do to turn out the next NHL star. The Aquilini’s have a sizeable presence in Prince Rupert, it would be a big deal for the town if they chose to make this happen.

Professional development camps build talent no doubt, but they also build skills kids can use off the playing field as well. “If I just teach basketball I failed within the camp,” Noah Dahlman said about his basketball camp. The lessons learned are translatable in all facets of life, meaning the more youth sports camps the better.

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Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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