Quesnel youth gear up for hockey season at summer camp

Former NHL players Chris Murray and Ed Patterson coach Quesnel’s annual hockey camp

Quesnel’s third annual Cariboo Elite Summer Hockey Camp put the players through their paces Aug. 14-18.

Former National Hockey League (NHL) players Chris Murray and Ed Patterson were joined by two Quesnel assistant coaches, Chris Thon and Brett Mero, to lead the camp at the Quesnel Arena for youth aged nine to 15. The camp had 63 attendees this year.

Coach Murray said the camp is set up to teach skills that might get overlooked during practice time.

“We are going through everything from individual skills, power skating and stick handling.

“The improvement over the last three years we’ve been coming here is really exciting to see.”

Patterson said Quesnel’s players are a fun group to work with.

“The young guys have so much fun out there, they compete hard.

“The development we’ve seen in the [12-14 group] is great, those guys are really competitive and you can see their knowledge is growing. It’s been a blast.”

The players, who spent part of their days on the ice working on skills and playing mini games, and the other part in LeBourdais Park doing dry-land fitness, said the camp had been both fun and educational.

“I really like doing all the mini games that the coaches put together, and all the drills. The stick-handling sessions are fun and I’ve definitely gotten better at that,” said Monias Nault, 9.

His teammate Merik Mamic, 11, said: “I like playing with the older kids, it’s been more of a challenge.”

“The coaches are all about fun,” said 11-year-old Issiah Bagri. “The extra dry-land training is good, it’s getting us in shape for hockey season.”

Assistant coaches Mero and Thon said they’re learning from Patterson and Murray and really enjoying leading the younger players.

“I have two little brothers here, so it’s cool to see them getting better,” said Mero.

“It’s a lot of fun letting them go and see how they do,” agreed Thon.

The sessions continue this week with a power skating camp.