Saturday, August 16, 2008


The Simcoe (Ontario) Reformer reports on Brockport's recent addition, Adam Shoff, helping at a hockey camp....

Barnes hockey school leaving kids satisfied and spent

With four-on-four summer hockey coming to an end recently, local kids didn't have to wait long to get back on the ice. This week marks the first appearance of the Barnes Hockey School at the Simcoe Recreation Centre, where 43 kids are back on the ice, readying themselves for the upcoming season. The camp has been run throughout southern Ontario in the past, and the move to Norfolk has been a smooth one.

"It's been an absolute joy to work with the kids here," said co-head instructor Ryan Barnes. "The facility people will do anything for you and it's been a great environment for us to work in. The kids and the families have been wonderful so it's been a real positive experience so far."

Ryan and his cousin Scott Barnes are the head instructors, drawing experience from all over the world. As a left winger, Ryan has suited up with the Detroit Red Wings, and several OHL and AHL teams. Scott is well travelled, having played in leagues in Scotland and Great Britain.
Shawn Smith from Mind of Muscle is handling the off-ice training portion of the camp, making it even more of a unique experience for the skaters.

"The environment we try to create is hard work and we want them to have fun at the same time. We bring Shawn (Smith) who's worked with guys in the NHL. He really brings a special element to the camp," said Ryan, who has been to development camps overseas. We've got a lot of positive comments from parents (about) slowly introducing the younger kids to the off-ice element of it, that's been big."

Ryan said his own experiences with hockey schools have had a big effect on his camp. "I've taken little bits and pieces from different places (where) I've learned things. I've been to every power skating school just looking for that edge as a player and always kept notes in the back of my mind and really turned it into our own brand here."

The camp has also enlisted the services of Port Dover's Adam Shoff, who will attend the University at Brockport on a hockey scholarship this fall. Shoff has been a teacher at the school before, but doing it in his own backyard has meant a little more.

"It's been nice to give back to the game and, for me, the area that I came from. It was a camp like this that gave me the opportunity and insight to want to go to the NCAA," he said. "Not every kid here is going to want that dream, but it's nothing that you can't achieve if you work hard. Hopefully a few kids will come out of this and it will give them an opportunity to see they can go somewhere if they really work at it."

As for the players, the camp makes for a great chance to get back on the ice before the upcoming season begins

"Because I love to play hockey," Brody Bridgwater, 10, of Port Dover said of his reason for going. "It's fun -- a lot of work."

During the third day of camp yesterday, the younger group was still a fired up bunch, loving being at the rink and all that goes along with it.

"They've got a lot of energy which is a good quality to have for wanting to get better as a hockey player," said Barnes. "We try to create an environment where the kids are going to work extremely hard and be better hockey players and, at the same time, have a lot of fun. I think we've had a pretty successful week so far. We've got two days to go and we'll keep on these guys and send everybody home happy."

Parents have certainly been pleased with the results.

"That's the best compliment we can get, when Mom and Dad say the next day, 'They were so tired last night. Thank you,'" Barnes said with a laugh. "When we're hearing things like that from parents, we know that we've done our job. That's been a common theme for sure."

Josh Evans, nine, of Hagersville, put it best when he said that his favourite part of the camp was simply, "Going on the ice."