Ed Patterson helps a young skater up after a spill.

Former NHLers train Quesnel’s hockey loving youth

Cariboo Elite Hockey Training celebrates its fifth year

Hockey lovers aged eight to 14 are getting some of the best hockey training available in northern B.C. for the next two weeks at the Cariboo Elite Hockey Training School.

Originally started five years ago by Matt Kolle, Shane Thon and Richard Gauthier as a three-on-three camp held once the season had wrapped up in spring, it quickly sling-shotted into a full-blown two-week summer camp.

Thanks to Kolle’s connections in Kamloops, the organizers were able to acquire the services of former NHLers Chris Murray and Ed Patterson. They committed to one week and have been coming back every year since.

“In addition to being NHL alumni, [the pair] have extensive coaching experience both in minor hockey and in major midget and junior hockey with the [Thompson] Blazers and the Kamloops Storm, so to have these two individuals up here working with our kids is really special,” says Thon.

While the level of coaching is elite, hence the name of the program, the participants do not have to be to get a lot out of the coaching. A simple love of the game and a will to improve is all that is required.

“If your child is just in initiation, bring them on down and these guys will help them with edge control and turning and stopping and getting the fundamentals to start and then get better and better as those skills progress,” says Thon. “Even if they are going to be in a perennial house player and they play hockey for the sheer enjoyment and it’s not about the competitive side of it, then this is still a great camp because these guys will engage you whether you’re a 10 or a three in skill level.

“Their idea is to make you better than you are and to help you enjoy the game.”

That being said, higher skilled players will certainly get a lot our of the program too.

“We have had multiple kids that have come through our program that have gone on to higher levels and played in Junior B in the KIJHL or they’ve played Major Midget,” says Thon.

Local player Yewta Plamendon is helping Murray and Patterson out this week.

The 17-year-old played for Patterson for two years on the Kamloops Storm and would often spend his summer travelling down to Salmon Arm or Kelowna for camps.

“There wasn’t a lot around in the north at the time, so I would always have to go down south,” he says.

He says having this level of training in Quesnel is important to building up the minor hockey program in the city.

“It’s crucial,” he says. “With Ed and Chris, they’ve had experience, so they know how to improve younger kids, and to get good, you’ve got to start training at a high level at the youngest age you can.”

Plamendon is taking a lot from the experience.

“It’s awesome. I’m already seeing kids improve on the first day. It’s really mind blowing.”

The second week of the clinic will be power skating taught by AK Performance Hockey out of Kelowna.

There is still time to sign up for that full week and even an opportunity to get in a few days with Patterson and Murray.

Thon recommends interested parents call Quesnel Leisure Services at the Recreation Centre at 250-992-8200. Pro rata rates are available for the skills clinic, and spots are still available for power skating.

READ MORE: New arena is perfect for hockey training school


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Yewta Plamendon is finding the experience of being a part of the camp very rewarding.

Just Posted

Local war hero ceberating 100 years of life

Derek Beningfield records his grandfather’s history ahead of his 100th birthday on July 14

Editorial: Thanks for the memories

Sasha Sefter says farewell to our readers

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

RANCH MUSINGS: When the sun shines, kids and calves

It is not easy to witness the birth of a calf especially in a herd on a spacious pasture

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Most Read