MONTREAL -- Summer was made for playing. Playing hockey, that is – just ask the 736 youngsters who took part in this year’s third edition of the Montreal Canadiens Hockey School.
A short visit to Brossard’s Bell Sports Complex was all it took to quickly see just how much the Novice to PeeWee-aged kids savored every moment of their time, both on and off the ice.
All participants improved a variety of skills with every young player questioned noticing a significant improvement in their skating ability. Whether it was a matter of Samuel learning how to get back on his feet faster, Nicolas becoming stronger when skating backwards or Mikaël improving his stopping ability, all are thrilled to take part in the week-long program. So was their Habs mentor for the day, Guillaume Latendresse.
‘I really enjoy being here with the youngsters. If f I could be here every day I would be but unfortunately the demands on my time don’t make that possible,’ said number 84 after a skating session with the appreciative children.
After skating time comes autograph time. For little Félix-Antoine, securing a Canadiens player’s signature was a bonus.
“Skating with Guillaume Latendresse makes me very proud and to get his autograph as well is really a lot of fun.”
Some parents came to watch their children work out and also to pick up a few tips themselves. Éric Charrette, young Mikaël’s dad, watched attentively as the youngsters were put through their paces.
“Sometimes the kids look a little nervous out there, especially when there’s a well-known player out there with them but, for the most part, I think they’ll remember the drills and exercises and will be able to reproduce them in the future.”
These three youngsters might end the week with a few more tricks in their bags but one thing is certain – they’ll be leaving with smiles on their faces.Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Mike Wyman.Read also:Recipe for success Getting to know Curtis Sanford Just a taste Canadiens announce 2009-10 schedule Stay in touch !