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Queens Coaches Attend Hockey Canada U17 Camp

08/08/2018, 10:15pm EDT
By Jeff Ricciardi


Media Release: Saturday, August 8, 2018

Queens Coaches Attend Hockey Canada U17 Camp

THUNDER BAY, ON — Hockey Canada invited 112 players from across the country to participate in Canada’s national under-17 development camp, which took place July 21-27 at the Markin MacPhail Centre at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.

For the duration of the week-long camp, the players – 12 goaltenders, 37 defencemen, and 63 forwards - were be split into six teams for on and off-ice training, fitness testing, practices, intrasquad games, and classroom sessions.

The camp was split into 3 groups, Team Red, Team Black and Team White. Canada sends three teams to the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge in November. Saint John and Quispamsis will co-host the tournament scheduled to run November 3-10, 2018.

Furthermore the teams were then split into 2 more teams, so for example Team Black then had Team Black and Team Blue, Team White had Team White and Team Gold and then Team Red (where I was associated) had team Red and Team Green.
My involvement was directly associated to Team Red lead by Nic Sinclair (Sarnia Sting GM) and Head Coach Louis Robitaille (HC for Victoriaville in QMJHL). I was a Guest Coach for Team Green and was involved with everything Team Green did for the week, including all on and off ice sessions, which would have included Style of Play practices, Forward and Defenceman specific practices, skill practices, small area games, intrasquad games as well as sessions on Mental Performance, Nutrition, Media and team building exercises.

“The national under-17 development camp provides a unique opportunity for players to learn about what it takes to be part of Team Canada alongside the best young talent in the country,” said Shawn Bullock, Hockey Canada’s senior manager of hockey operations and men’s national teams. “The players are here with the ultimate goal of wearing the Team Canada jersey in international competition, and we are supporting them in that goal by providing the on- and off-ice experiences they need to develop and grow as high-performance athletes.”

Following the development camp, players will continue to be evaluated through the early season before 66 are named to one of three Canadian national teams – Team Canada Black, Team Canada Red, and Team Canada White – who will compete at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge scheduled for Nov. 3-10 in Saint John and Quispamsis, N.B.

This year, all 112 players have been drafted by Canadian Hockey League teams, including 55 from the Ontario Hockey League, 29 from the Western Hockey League, and 28 from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

From an experience base in coaching it is the best I have had and I feel very lucky to have been able to be a part of the program. The week was designed to give the players an introduction to what it really means to be a part of Team Canada. It was a development camp. From my perspective it was awesome to see the values behind the Team Canada program and the expectations the player must have. The bar is et very high. There were both on ice and off ice programs, and I do believe I am better aware, especially with respect to the off-ice process for our players moving forward. The sessions based on short term competition (tournaments) were where I would say I took the most.  Sessions included the importance of hydration, and where specific types of hydration are required, the importance of rest and the placement of where pre-game meals should be in regard to game times, and what post game requirements are. I also really enjoyed the sessions on mental preparation and team building which I so important in the short term competitions we play in. Making sure our teams are ready from day one. 

The on ice session were also interesting as the focus is skill based, not system based. Once again the belief is to make sure our young athletes have the best skill sets possible so that when they have to make a decision on ice the have the ability to make the play without hesitation or having to think, the skill has become second nature. I was lucky enough to be a part of discussions in the practices design, and to why the specific drills were being used, whether it was a skill practice, a style of play practice or position specific.

The week was exhausting and amazing as days started around 630am and ended somewhere around 11pm. I totally enjoyed the interaction with the players, coaches and Hockey Canada representatives, long term contacts and connections were made that can will benefit our teams and players moving forward.

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