CANMORE – Canada’s game is returning to the Bow Valley.
Pinnacle Hockey is hosting a revised spring three-on-three program and summer hockey school this August at the Canmore Recreation Centre as people are ready to regain some normalcy with COVID-19 restrictions easing.
“We’re going to follow the provincial guidelines and we’re hoping to get back to as normal as possible in terms of ice play,” said Andrew Milne, Pinnacle Hockey’s owner operator and the Canmore Eagles head coach and general manager.
“We’ll do our best to make it as convenient as we can for everything and make it fun, too. We’ve been lacking that for the last few months.”
The revised spring three-on-three program, for athletes with 2006 birth years or younger, runs from Aug. 4-20, and teaches fundamental development from Eagles staff and players.
The Canmore Summer Hockey Camp is from Aug. 24-28 and players, aged five to 15, are coached on age specific power skating, dynamic puck control, shooting/passing fundamentals while furthering their Hockey IQ. For this camp, Pinnacle Hockey will have use of rec centre dressing rooms, as well as exclusive use of the Thelma Crowe arena drypad.
Under Alberta's Phase 2 reopening strategy, a maximum of 50 players and coaching staff are allowed at each of the camps. As part of new guideline process, Milne said there will be some modifications to the camps.
“We are going to cohort groups and we’ll be together for the entire time," Milne said.
Last month, Town of Canmore announced in early August it’d be reopening the Alex Kaleta Arena, which has one of the Canmore Recreation Centre’s two ice rinks. The Thelma Crowe Arena ice rink is expected to open by Oct. 1.
Funds from the August camps and programs will help support the Eagles, the local Junior A hockey team.
Earlier this week, the Alberta Junior A Hockey League (AJHL) announced its 2020-21 schedule, consisting of 58 games in a modified season that will begin in September. However, if provincial guidelines don't allow the schedule to start on time, the league has pre-determined games to remove from the schedule.
The 2021 Inter Pipeline AJHL Playoffs are scheduled to begin March 5 and follow the same format as last year's playoffs.
Milne has doubts the league will start on time, but has informed Eagles players to "be prepared to start."
"There are so many question marks. We're planning, but we're prepared to adjust if we have to," he said.
With uncertainty of the league's start date, Milne added, it has given him grief over other essential parts of running the club like finding billet families for the teenage players.
"We need all the support we can get from the community," said Milne. "Obviously with COVID, finding billets is definitely a concern and I'm not sure what that's going to look like."