CAMBRIDGE, MA – It might have been one of the coldest days anyone can remember, but that doesn’t mean it was a bad day for hockey.
Ryan Spooner and Dougie Hamilton would agree.
On Tuesday, January 22, the Medford Recreational Hockey program welcomed Dougie and Ryan to the Simoni Ice Rink in Cambridge to help host an American Developmental Model (ADM) Clinic for the youth hockey players.
There were about 60 kids on the ice, from ages 5 to 14, separated into groups of four based on age. The skaters rotated through the four stations that were set up in each quarter of the rink.
After spending the time on the ice with the kids, Spooner mentioned what it could possibly be like for one of those young players.
“To be younger like these guys and girls and be able to go out there and learn new stuff and then actually apply it to their game I think is really good for them”
Ryan and Dougie had similar experiences to this clinic while they were growing up. Both the forward and Dman attended hockey camps and built their skills through them, but it was quickly realized that it is more than just learning the skills.
“I remember the camps I would go to, it was fun to be around other guys and the instructors made them [the drills] fun” Dougie remembered. “So that’s how you really get better. It’s not really good for you when you're doing the stuff and not having fun. So I think as long as the drills and practices are good and fun, I think you're going to get better.”
This clinic seemed to be up to Hamilton’s standards in terms of fun levels. The kids were having a great time and the players being there just made it that much better. Pat McCabe, the President of Medford Recreational Hockey is who made this event happen.
“It was wonderful,” McCabe beamed. “Both players were just like big little kids themselves. They had a lot of fun and really work well with the kids. Everyone had a fun time.”
Both Dougie, 20, and Ryan, 21, are young enough to remember how important it is for kids to keep learning.
“I think when you're younger you can soak it in a lot more and kind of change your game,” said Spooner. “When you get to 16, 17, 18, trying to change things is a lot harder because you develop habits.”
This is why American Developmental Model Clinics are so important. The ADM is a nationwide model for successfully developing American hockey players. The program works around the country to promote a healthy, safe and fun learning experience in order to keep kids engaged and in love with their sport.
McCabe believes in the ADM clinics and wanted to turn this experience into a positive one not just for his players, but for his town as well.
“We have had four NHL players come out of Medford in the last 20 years.” McCabe pointed out. “We’re just trying to get Medford back on the map with hockey and this is going to help us do that.”
Spooner and Hamilton were excited to help out as well and hope that one day it will help one of those kids continue to their dream. But for now, Hamilton knows what the true value of youth hockey is.
“All those kids are having fun and I think that’s the most important thing. We would tell them to just keep having fun and it was nice to see their smiles.”