In the midst of hockey school season, this time of year brings back many fond memories.
I really miss the days of our fundamental hockey school that was always packed with kids and had the Mac buzzing every August. I fondly think of my time as a kid attending hockey school at the Mac and being lucky enough to attend the Beehive Hockey Camp near Fenelon Falls.
The camp was owned by Hall of Famer and multi-Stanley Cup winner Allan Stanley.
The Timmins native bought what was at the time the Beehive Resort. He and his wife Barbara turned the resort into one of Canada's first hockey schools. The stunning resort on Lake Sturgeon was equipped with a beautiful golf course. Stanley built six cabins for the participants along the shore of the lake. The six cabins were named after one of the original six NHL franchises. My cabin during my time as a participant was the New York Rangers, which was even cooler when you consider that Allan made his NHL debut as a Ranger.
Kids my age really only knew about the Bobby Orr/Mike Walton Hockey School and Allan's Beehive Hockey School. Both were pioneers in the hockey camp business.
A strong Timmins connection was always present at the camp. A number of kids from the area annually attended the camp and one of our instructors was Timmins native and NHLer Dale Rolfe. I attended the school with a gifted local hockey product and good friend Joe Omicioli, and a family friend of the Stanleys Rick Romain from Timmins was one of our camp councillors.
Every day we were bused into town for on-ice sessions at the rink. Free time was spent golfing, canoeing, swimming, go karting or a trip to the movie theatre. But the most memorable was the time we got to spend listening to Allan talk about his hockey career.
Allan was one of the nicest down-to-earth people you could ever meet. And he made sure all his counsellors and instructors were always polite and helpful and mindful of their time with participants. Barbara was the matron of the camp and was always looking out for us around the school.
Some of the instructors I remember being a part of Allan's camps were Rolfe, John Miszuk, Rick MacLeish, Bobby Baun, Fred Stanfield, Dick Duff and Marv Edwards.
And most of the instructors had us feeling that we were the pro players. They were very good to us and were always making sure we were learning and developing.
We were all so lucky.
In the 1980s the Stanleys sold the former resort and closed the hockey school. It is now known as the Eganridge Inn and Country Club.
But, to me, it will always be Allan's place.
Despite a number of the top teams exiting early, I was totally enthralled and entertained by the Women's World Cup of Soccer. The fan support and viewership were very impressive.
Now if some of the associations could get their heads out of the sand and quit jerking around, the game will continue to expand and provide opportunities.
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