A world champion hockey player wants to bring more awareness to amputees playing the game.
Vernon’s Curt Minard, 33, helped Canada win its sixth consecutive world amputee hockey championship in 2012 in Finland.
Minard, in February, was named the Western Canadian coordinator the Canadian Amputee Hockey Committee, and one of his first efforts is to put on a Western Canadian hockey camp for amputees.
The camp runs April 12 to 14 at Vernon’s Priest Valley Arena, featuring up to 20 players from across Western Canada.
“My goal, and our organization’s goal, is to put disability on the ice and provide an atmosphere for amputees to come out and enjoy the game,” said Minard, who lost his left hand at the wrist in 2008 in a work-related accident near Invermere.
“I decided I really wanted to put something together in the west this year and shed some light and get some young kids out to the camp.”
Running the camp will be Team Canada head coach Jamie McGuire of Toronto with help from Vernon’s Dean McAmmond, a former NHL star who has helped Minard with his own hockey training.
“Dean worked quite a bit with me last year, he’s an outstanding guy,” said Minard.
The camp is an open camp for all amputees of any age and skill level.
The players will hit the ice for their first workout on Friday, April 12, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. That will be followed with an early-morning workout Saturday, April 13, from 7:15 to 8:45, and there will be a scrimmage against the Armstrong Safe Hockey League’s men’s division playoff runner-ups, the Jayhawks, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
The camp ends Sunday with a workout from 1:15 to 2:45 p.m.
Attendees will unveil the new Western Canadian Amputee Hockey Committee jerseys at the camp.
Two teenage goalies from northern B.C. and northern Alberta will be at the camp, as will one national team goalie and five or six of Minard’s national squad teammates.
“We want to get these kids involved and keep them interested so, hopefully, one day, they end up on the national team themselves or at least stay in the game and the program,” said Minard.
All activities are open to the public free of charge.
“My personal goal for this camp is to give some public attention to it,” said Minard, who hopes to entice hockey-loving amputees from the Okanagan to the camp.
As of this week, nobody from the Okanagan had signed up. Anybody interested can contact Minard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The camp is free. Out-of-town players must pay for their accommodations.
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