Former Beast captain Cal Wild hosted some of Brampton’s most eager young hockey players at the Powerade Centre this week for first ever Cal Wild Holiday Camp, held from December 21 to 23.
More than 30 young skaters took to the ice over the course of the three-day camp and enjoyed some top-notch hockey instruction from Cal Wild and other members of the Brampton Beast squad.
The halls at the Powerade Centre echoed a little louder than usual during Cal’s camp, as skaters took over the entire arena to take part in a variety of hockey training activities, from dryland instruction to on-ice sessions.
Running a camp like this was a new experience for Wild but he knows all involved, himself included, left the arena having had a great experience.
“It was great,” Wild said with a smile.
“This is the first time I’ve headed up a camp like this. In the summer I participated in the kids camp. I’ve been around a lot of hockey camps but this is the first one where I was in charge. I told the kids at the beginning of the week that we were going to have a “work hard, play hard” mentality and I feel like they put in a lot of work on the ice and in the hours of dryland training.”
Wild is the first to admit that a three-day camp is a short amount of time to get to know all the kids, learn all their names and evaluate them all on their skills, but he did his best to share as much of his hockey expertise as possible over the course of the camp.
“The biggest thing I can hope to share with them is the importance of skating,” Wild said.
“Every day, we’ve done skating. As you progress and get older and move up in hockey, it’s all about speed. I start every session with at least 25 minutes of skating. On top of the skating every day, we focused on a different skill each day as well. On the first day, we focused on puck handling and individual skills. The second day was the shooting and scoring day with a focus on the different types of shots and deking. On the final day, we did a refresher on passing.”
After a jam-packed three days filled with fun, new friends and new skills, Wild had a chance to catch up with some hockey parents, all of whom seemed pleased with what their kids had to say about the camp experience.
“As far as I know, the reaction has been positive,” Wild said.
“I’ve talked to some parents after when they pick up their kids and they say their kids have been enjoying the camp and having a good time. We have a big emphasis on fun too. I just hope they haven’t been lying to me about having lots of fun.”
Of course, Cal’s just being modest. Just ask Beast Season Ticket Holders Jeff and Andrea White. Their son Eric has now attended two camps with the Beast and is already looking forward to the next.
“He’s already talking about (attending) summer camp,” Andrea said. “I didn’t even get him to the car before he was already talking about summer camp.”
“I think for us, we’ve seen huge progress in his abilities. When he attended (last year’s) summer camp, he didn’t even know how to skate. Through summer camp, he learned how to skate and then this week, we’ve seen lots of progression again. He gets so much in a short period of time, more than he gets on his regular hockey team.”
In addition to the on-ice instruction, the White family had nothing but positive things to say about how the camp was executed.
“From drop off to pick up, everything was super easy,” Jeff added. “Everybody is so friendly.”
With a Little Help From My Friends…
While Cal was the primary instructor throughout the three busy days at the Powerade Centre, the camp wasn’t possible without a little help from his Beast family.
Everyone from Beast staff members to current players, including Stephon Thorne and Jeff Brown, gave their time to provide an exciting and fun atmosphere for Cal’s young campers, something he’s truly grateful for especially during the busy holiday season.
“I’ve been very thankful to have some help from the staff and some of the guys (on the Beast) taking some time from their Christmas break,” he said.
Even though the snow hasn’t even settled after this year’s camp, both campers and Cal himself are already looking forward to future Beast hockey camps.
“In a three-day camp, it’s great,” Cal said.
“The kids have a lot of energy, they’re not in school so this is where they’ve been burning all their energy. We’re looking ahead to a March camp and a summer camp too. We’re looking to space out the time and work on even more stuff, like team tactics and defense. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The Beast will hit the ice at the Powerade Centre in Brampton on December 27 and 28 to take on the Reading Royals. Single game tickets are now available, starting at $16.25. For more information or general media inquiries on the Brampton Beast please contact Chris Ballard, Public Relations Coordinator at (905) 564-1684 or firstname.lastname@example.org.