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JR. ISLANDERS CAMP

Iceworks was the site for the Jr. Islanders summer camp

Thursday, 07.01.2010 / 12:16 PM / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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JR. ISLANDERS CAMP
In February 2011, the 52nd Quebec Pee Wee Hockey Tournament will take place at the Pepsi Colisee in Quebec City. Elite Pee Wee Level teams from all over the world will be present – including the Jr. Islanders, a team comprised of Long Island locals.

Jr. Islanders coaches Bob Nystrom and Benoit Hogue, both former Islanders, love the tournament. “Well it’s one of the largest and best attended tournaments in the world,” Nystrom said. “There are teams from across the world whether it is Russia, Mexico or Japan; there are teams from all over.”

The age requirement makes playing in this tournament a once-in a lifetime opportunity. To participate this year, players need to be born in 1998, making them eligible for play at the Pee Wee Level.

Even though the tournament is more than six-months away, preparations are already in progress for the upcoming tournament. Jr. Islanders coaches Nystrom and Hogue, held a two-day hockey camp on Tuesday, June 29 and Wednesday, June 30.

“I think most of all we just really want to have an opportunity to see some of the kids that will be eligible to go to Quebec this year. We just want to see how this group of kids rank from a talent standpoint. Then it’s so much easier to evaluate them come the [invite-only tryout] in the fall,” Nystrom said.

Coach Hogue said he wanted to know which players were dedicated to making the team. “We want to get a good view of who wants to come and who’s dedicated on trying to make the team by coming this early,” Hogue said. “We are looking for kids that love to play, love to win and have a little passion for the game.”

These camps will allow the elite hockey players on Long Island the opportunity to showcase their skills. By attending both camps, Nystrom and Hogue will see how the players have improved over the summer.

“Quebec is a no hitting tournament, so realistically we’re looking for more skilled players that can skate pretty well, handle the puck and are able to play their position,” Nystrom said. “More than anything else, it’s a skating and passing tournament.”

If you are interested in this unique opportunity and missed the first camp, a second two-day camp is set for August 28 and 29. In September, select players from the summer camps will attend the invitation-only tryout, and the 2011 Jr. Islanders team will then be finalized. At that point, the Jr. Islanders team will have a series of practices, in conjunction with their travel hockey team, getting them ready for February.

The 10-day tournament is an all-around amazing experience. Winning the tournament’s gold medal may be each kid’s dream, but making new friends is also a big part of the trip.

“It’s not only the hockey but our players get a chance to really interact with all the teams and also see a totally different culture in Quebec City,” Nystrom said. “It’s a beautiful city, it’s unique in the respect that it’s a very old city and the players are exposed to a different culture.”

Living with a French-Canadian billet family is part of the experience throughout the 10-day tournament. A billet family is the French term for host family. A tradition that is unique to Canadian hockey, billeting is very common in Canada at the tournament and then also in junior hockey. By the end of the experience, many players and their billet families have built life-long friendships.

“We always felt that it was most important to have the kids live with families,” Nystrom said. “That way they get to experience a French Canadian family and see what their lifestyle is like and how different it is from New York. More than anything else, they develop long lasting relationships with these folks, oftentimes the billets come down to New York to visit and vice versa. It’s just a cultural thing.”

The Jr. Islanders also attend a few fun-packed field trips while they’re in Canada. “We take the kids to the snow park every year,” Hogue said. “It’s a park in the mountains and the kids go down the slopes on tubes. This year we are also going to give more time to the parents to spend with their kids and the billet family so the billet family can take the family out and see different parts of the city.”

But the most important thing is that the Jr. Islanders players enjoy their once-in-a-lifetime experience of playing in the tournament.

“Most of the kids that have competed the last few years, have told me that this is the best experience,” Hogue said. “I still have contact with some of the parents from the previous years. Their kids loved it and they will always remember playing in the Quebec tournament.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
3 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 64 30 35 4 65
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 64 14 27 22 41
B. Nelson 64 17 19 7 36
F. Nielsen 64 11 25 12 36
A. Lee 58 20 13 13 33
J. Bailey 52 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 54 7 23 16 30
N. Leddy 64 8 18 15 26
T. Hamonic 54 4 21 15 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 33 13 0 .911 2.46
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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