Red Wing Alumni host Eagle clinic |

Red Wing Alumni host Eagle clinic

David L'Heureux
Red Wings6 3-6 CS Enterprise/ Coreen Sapp Mini Mite Wyatt Alt faces off against Dan Newman during an exhibition game between the Mites and the Detroit Red Wings Alumni. Dropping the puck is Alex Woods, 11, who is the youngest USA Hockey certified referee.

Hockey lovers throughout the region, get ready. The Red Wings are coming to Eagle.From Aug. 9-12, the Detroit Red Wing Alumni will be at the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink for a summer ice hockey clinic for both adult and youth skaters.The weeklong clinic, which is being sponsored by the Eagle Valley Skating Association (EVSA) and WECMRD, is the highlight of the summer for area hockey enthusiasts. It will definitely be the deal of the summer, according to Vail Mountaineer player and longtime friend of the Red Wing Alumni Andy Clark.”This camp costs about a third of what it would normally cost for your typical hockey camps,” said Clark. “EVSA and WECMRD have made this possible. Those two entities are what made the successful weekend happen in March (when the Red Wings and Mountaineers played an exhibition in Eagle), and they are what made this affordable as well.”For in-district kids the camp will be $175 for the week, and $200 for those out of WECMRD’s district. Adult men’s and women’s clinic fees are $195, regardless of where you live. Goalies attending the clinic will get the best value of any participants. The price for netminders is $150. Their portion of the camp will be taught by current Red Wing goalie coach, Jim Bedard, who coached the likes of Dominik Hasek and Curtis Joseph this past season.The clinic pricing includes two-and-a-half hours of instruction per day, a clinic jersey, an invitation to the week-ending, send-off cook out for the Alumni, and a daily pool pass for use during camp down times. There will also be a Friday golf tournament at Eagle Ranch. The four-person scramble is open to anyone for an additional cost of $100. Members of the Red Wing Alumni, as well as the Nordiques/Avalanche Alumni, will be participating in the tournament. Proceeds will subsidize the cost of the clinic. What will I learn?The Red Wing Alumni will be sending eight of their members to coach the clinic, as well as goalie-coach Bedard. Gary Defina, an EVSA board member, Bantam coach and Vail Moutaineer player who helped Clark make this summer clinic a reality, says the possibilities for learning the game of hockey for both coaches and players is unlimited.

“It will be good to watch how these guys handle the kids,” said Defina. “We want to see how they interact with the kids and what drills they do. Also, since a lot of us coaches are skaters and not goalies, it will be great to see how he (Bedard) teaches the goalies.”Dennis Hextall, exhibition trip coordinator for the Alumni, said that when kids are up for their portion of ice time each day, everyone of them can expect to be out skating and doing drills for the whole time.”I know that ice time is valuable. It doesn’t do these kids any good to be sitting around watching other kids skate,” said Bedard. “We put drills in that use all the ice. The kids are all skating all the time. If you put a puck in front of kids, they will chase it all day.”The adults will also spend time working on drills and improving their skating. However, the adults can also expect to get into some game situations as well.”It all starts with the skating. The rest of the stuff will fall into place if you can skate,” said Hextall. “With the adults, we won’t go all the way down to the basics like we do with the younger kids. We know they want to do some scrimmaging too.”Community effortClark views the weekend as the culmination of a lot of hard work and commitment from the EVSA, WECMRD, the Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the entire Eagle hockey community.”This is a testament to the Eagle community and their support of the Red Wings Alumni,” said Clark. “I’ve never seen a community come together like this and say, ‘Hey, this is important to our kids. Let’s make it happen.'”That sentiment is echoed by EVSA board member Bethe Wright. “This is an amazing relationship that has developed between our community and the Red Wing Alumni. It is such an amazing chance for our kids to learn from the best,” said Wright.

Alumni excitedNo one is more excited for this camp than the Red Wing Alumni. Last March, they played an exhibition game at the ice rink, and could not believe what an amazing facility Eagle had for hockey. It was that game that first set things in motion for this summer’s clinic.”That’s when Gary (Defina) and Andy (Clark) and I started thinking about doing something for the kids in the summer,” said Hextall.Hextall has been making trips to the Eagle Valley for business and pleasure for 13 years now. However, neither he nor any of his fellow alumni team members have been here during the summer. In fact, he says there was actually a waiting list amongst Red Wing Alumni to make it on this trip.”I use the trip in March as a bargaining tool with the guys,” said Hextall. “This summer one is the same way. The guys who show up all year and participate in our other events get first choice when we come out to Colorado.”How much does Hextall like coming out here? So much so that he and his wife actually bought property in Eagle and have not ruled out relocating here in the near future.Space is still available for the camp, but it is filling up quickly. This camp will be offered throughout the entire Western Slope region in the days leading up to it. To register, contact Scott Ruff at WECMRD at 328-5277, or Bethe Wright of the EVSA at 328-6300. Registration forms can also be picked up at the WECMRD offices on Fourth Street in Eagle.This story first appeared in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.

SIDEBAR:The Red Wing Alumni:Jim Bedard-Goalie CoachRob Palmer-defensePat Ribble-defensePaul McKinnon-defenseTony McKegney-forwardTom Williams-forwardDanny Newman-forwardDennis Hextall-forward

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