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Andrews Hockey School visits Rankin

Local minor hockey players had a rare treat when instructors from the famous Andrews Hockey School in Prince Edward Island ran a three-day mini-camp in Rankin Inlet from Feb. 24 to 26.

Rankin recreation director David Clark, who coaches the Rankin Rock bantams this year and holds his own hockey camp at the start of each season, said the camp went quite well and the kids enjoyed every minute of it.

Andrews Hockey School mini camp participants, front from left, Ben MacDonald (instructor), Jose Taipana, Milli Lindell and Terence Kusugak and back from left, Aiden Papak, Solomon Sanertanut, Marvin Kritaqliluk and Morgan MacDonald (instructor) are all smiles while beginning their on-ice instruction at the Rankin Inlet arena on Feb. 26. Photo courtesy of David Clark

He said, for him, it was nice to take a step back and watch how the Andrews instructors do things.

“I’ve been to the Andrews Hockey School a bunch of times and my kids go to it every year, but it sure was nice for the players in our community to learn from these guys because they’re one of the top schools in the whole country ” said Clark.

“I was very interested in a lot of the skating drills they did.

“So much of the game is skating now and Andrews is one of the top skating-instruction schools you can find – the way they break it down and teach new skating skills to help a player create more space, as well as using your edges to give yourself more room on the ice are two things they’re known for and very, very good at teaching.

“I leaned a bunch of things this week just watching some of their sessions and you have to remember, Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon and most of the top players from Eastern Canada all went through their school.”

Clark said he was just a little relieved to see a solid turnout for the school’s visit.

He said it was one of the worst times of the hockey season to visit Rankin, and he hopes to bring them up earlier in the coming season.

“It was tough because there’s always a bit of a letdown in the community following the big Polar Bear Plate tournament.

“It’s a huge weekend for us and everybody kind of takes a few deep breaths and a few days to recoup from it all after a weekend like that is over.

“But the kids were all here and eager to learn, so it was a great time for all of us. I’m doing a lot of the camps here and helping the coaches, and it’s good to hear a different voice at times and get a different perspective on things.

“My kids need to learn from different people and the Andrews Hockey School visiting here was a great opportunity for them to do exactly that.”

Clark said he’s going to try to make the visit from the school an annual event.

He said he threw around some ideas with the instructors while they were here and it looks like they’re going to try to come at the beginning of the 2020-2021 season.

“I’m a big believer in the beginning of the year being when you get the most out of what you’re trying to do with the players.

“The kids are very eager at the start of the season. The parents are also eager to get going and the excitement level is high throughout the whole community for a new season to get underway.

“So, we’re going to try and bring them in just after I have my camp and have them here for a whole week.

“The timing for this visit was because they were in Iqaluit for the week before and it just made sense financially to bring them right to Rankin when they finished-up in Iqaluit.”