Kids learn checking skills at Stettler hockey school

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Black Elk Hockey School instructor Brad Burns speaks with young players during a checking clinic Saturday

Black Elk Hockey School instructor Brad Burns speaks with young players during a checking clinic Saturday

John MacNeil / Independent editor

Instruction on how to give and take a hit was on the school curriculum at a weeklong hockey camp that wrapped up Saturday in Stettler.

For some of the 10-year-old students at the Black Elk Hockey Camp, the checking clinic was the first lesson they received on hitting.

“It’s important to know how to hit properly and how to take a hit,” camp director Dave Turnbull said Saturday between sessions at the Recreation Centre. “It’s just a four-hour clinic, so we’re not going to make them experts in it, but it gets them exposed to what it’s all about.”

Checking from behind has been a controversial topic at all levels of hockey, especially with the number of hit related concussions on the rise. In minor hockey, it’s often a hot-button issue because of the vast discrepancy in the size of players from the same division.

“We’re not out here to hurt each other,” instructor Brad Burns of Camrose told a group of players during Saturday’s final checking clinic. “We’re here to learn.”

Turnbull said Black Elk has offered checking instruction “for quite a while,” but it’s especially timely for 10-yearold kids entering peewee hockey and their first exposure to hitting in the game.