Every young hockey player’s dream is to make the NHL, and there are few better ways to prepare for that dream than to train under current and former NHL pros.
That’s the opportunity that Okanagan Hockey Camps gave to many young players over four weeks in Kelowna, as former NHLers Josh Gorges and Brett McLean joined current Colorado Avalanche forward Tyson Jost on the ice.
Gorges is a Kelowna-born former defenceman who spent 13 years with the San Jose Sharks, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres.
McLean is currently an assistant coach for the Minnesota Wild and a specialist in speed and skill.
Jost, who played Junior A with the Penticton Vees, is coming off a 17-point season with the Avalanche.
Our guys have been busy this summer, some of them even helping to grow the game back home!
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) August 17, 2021
Okanagan Hockey Camps operations manager Mack O’Rourke said each player ran a camp focusing on their specialty: Gorges on defence; McLean on speed and skill; and Jost on shooting.
“No other camp offers this kind of instruction. It’s not just a guest appearance, they’re there all week working with the kids. It’s their camp, their design,” O’Rourke said.
“There’s a different feel to how the kids listen and respect the pros. I’m there every day watching them; the kids listen to every detail.”
O’Rouke added that getting the chance to play and train with NHL players gives the kids a lot of confidence and helps to better prepare them for tryouts at any level.
As a part of the camps, each player got a custom, high-end jersey based on the team their pro represented and a swag bag with assorted hockey accessories and signed pucks.
In a Twitter video by the Colorado Avalanche, Jost said, “That’s something I want to do is give back. These kids are awesome and they’re excited to learn, and the smiles on their faces are pretty fun to watch.”
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