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Saskatoon hockey legend and olympic athlete Emily Clark hosts camp for aspiring, young players

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After a long hockey season, most kids are done with the cold rinks by spring. But for the chance to rub shoulders with a locally grown hockey superstar, you dust off the gear and skate in June.

The second annual EC26 hockey camp wrapped up on Sunday with Emily Clark, Saskatoon hockey player and two time Olympic medallist, who was blown away by the turnout.

“It’s been absolutely amazing,” Clark told CTV News.

“To be able to get this off the ground now and have it for the second year in a row. I really want it to be an annual thing. I was looking around during the Q&A and seeing all the girls in their merchandise and jerseys and big smiles, honestly it just makes me so happy. I take so much pride in this weekend, so I’m just happy the kids are having a good time.”

Clark wanted to have a hockey camp in her home community for years, but the pandemic forced her to wait.

But with the momentum of last year’s inaugural all-girls camp, it’s grown with the help of some all-star local coaches like Joelle Evan and Jocelyn Fiala, Willow Slobodzian, Alyssa Wiebe and Emily’s first skills coach, Scott Dutertre.

Together, they’re building the next generation of hockey stars.

“She called me and wanted to put something together,” said Scott Dutertre, Emily’s first skills coach. “She wanted to make sure she had put together some kind of package that really reaches the girls, and not just showing up. She wanted to make sure she could talk to all the girls, get to know them and have a good relationship with them. I think she’s achieved that.”

Despite all the star power from the coaches, they know the value of having fun at hockey camp.

“The values of the camp are hard work, humility and have fun.” Clark said. “For me that’s so important. My journey is having fun while working hard, and being from Saskatchewan, being humble is important. But it also teaches the kids the importance of confidence.”

The product of a weekend full of games, training, skating and learning makes for some tired, quiet rides home in the back seat.

“My older girl has two skates tonight,” said Trevor Iron, who has two daughters in the EC26 hockey camp.

“She has a game later this evening, so she’s going to be super tired and go to bed right away.”

Iron says it’s great to see his daughters motivated and learning.

“It’s all about fun, always motivating the players, teaching them how to lift themselves up and be better players,” he said.

“I can just see the excitement in both my girls.”

But for one athlete who’s learned from the best, she knows how to manage all that activity.

“Just get your rest, eat good food, go back on the ice and have fun,” said Taryn, who plays for Comet Fusion hockey club.

While the sun sets on another successful EC26 hockey camp, Clark says she’s already looking forward to all the smiling faces next season.

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