It’s the kids that are the highlight of Lou Lemire’s week every time he comes to Prince Rupert to teach hockey skills.
Lemire came to Rupert last week for the ninth annual Lou Lemire Hockey Skills Summer Camp here.
“I’m always amazed at how much the kids want to learn, how hard they work throughout the week. That’s what makes it rewarding for me, watching them grow and watching them improve. To me, that’s always the highlight,” Lemire said at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre on Friday.
There were 44 kids who participated in the camp this year, similar to previous years. The main focus is on improving hockey skills.
“We want the kids to learn how to do the skills properly and then we slow the skill down so the kids can learn and keep practicing the skill over and over again and we just keep helping them through different drills that we do,” the head instructor explained.
Some of the exercises Lemire and his four instructors teach the kids include power skating, stick handling, shooting skills and scrimmage. The kids also honed their skills with some off-the-ice activities like floor hockey and drylands.
“We always try to make the camp fun because we spend so much time working on skill development but then we end up with some games so the kids can enforce the skills they have learned.”
Brodie Graham attended the camp this year for the fourth time. The nine-year-old is a boy of few words, but his message came through just as clear.
“Really fun. Really hard,” he responded when asked what his week was like.
Graham, who plays minor hockey in Prince Rupert, said hockey, kickball and drylands were his favourite part. Does he feel like the camp is making him a better hockey player?
“Yeah,” he answered simply.
Specifically, Graham said he feels his tight turns were the most improved throughout the week.
The Rupert Rampage have also been working out with Lemire during the evenings for an hour and 15 minutes throughout the week.
“It’s a tough week but it’s a lot of fun to try and pass on a couple of things to those guys that will hopefully help them this winter,” Lemire said.
The camps have been running since 2003, but didn’t come to Rupert until 2007.
“We came to try it for one year and nine years later, we are still here. The support we have gotten from everybody is amazing.”
Coming from his hometown of Penticton is a long way, but Lemire says he’s willing to keep coming as long as people continue to support the camps.