BROSSARD – Hockey, a winter sport? Not for the almost 700 youngsters who will hit the ice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard during the annual Canadiens Hockey School which runs through July 24.
|Forward Lars Eller skates with kids at the Canadiens Hockey School.
Over the course of a week, novice to bantam hockey players aged 7 to 15 years old will not only take part in on-ice practices with the Hockey School coaches, but also participate in off-ice activities while meeting some of their favorite Habs stars along the way.
The idea behind the Canadiens Hockey School, now in its ninth edition, is to instill young hockey players with the perfect balance of skills, sportsmanship, teamwork and respect while continuing to fuel their passion for the game within a unique Canadiens setting.
“The kids get to improve their stickhandling, execution, skating, and every other aspect of their games while building team spirit,” explained Canadiens manager of minor hockey development, Stephane Verret. “Our goal is to give them the authentic Habs experience, from the atmosphere to the routines.”
Moments before surprising a group of young apprentices on one of the two ice surfaces at the Canadiens’ south shore training facility, 2014 first-round draft pick Nikita Scherbak was already eager to share some of his trade secrets.
|Prospect Nikita Scherbak makes life a little bit difficult for this young goaltender in Brossard. |
“It’s my first time doing something like this. I’m pretty excited, to be honest,” admitted Scherbak, who was also recently in town for the Canadiens’ development camp.
Known for his quick hands and dizzying dekes, the burgeoning NHLer thrilled tomorrow’s stars while also perhaps making life a bit more difficult for the goaltenders on hand.
“These kids all follow the NHL and try to imitate their favorite players. It’s really fun to skate with them and teach them some of my moves. They all get so excited when a pro steps onto the ice. You can tell it’s something that they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives.”
Getting to step into the Canadiens universe alongside the likes of Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller and Jeff Petry has attracted participants from all over the world this year, including youth from across Canada, the United States, and even Europe. For that reason, the Canadiens Hockey School will also host its first-ever camp in Leysin, Switzerland this summer from August 2 to 7.
Find out more about Canadiens Hockey School HERE.
Elise Robillard is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Steven Nechay.
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