Lemieux camps looks for some locals
Ron Filion and his well-known partner in crime, Claude Lemieux, are looking for locals.
The duo, who have been friends since their prep school days in Montreal, Canada, and now run the high-level AAA Claude Lemieux Hockey Academy for young hockey players, spend most of their time on the hunt for the best players in the U.S. to attend their Park City camp, but this week they are focused on the community.
"Hopefully we can give kids the same opportunities we had," said Filion, who played professionally in Europe and has coached professionally for the last 10 years.
The first few weeks of camp are comprised completely of specially invited players whom Lemieux and Filion scouted throughout the year. But they decided to devote the last week to locals to offering high-level coaching to Utah players who may not be at the AAA level just yet. Unfortunately, the response has been a bit tepid. So far, only 20 kids are signed up for the locals’ camp. This is in stark contrast to the 200 out-of-state kids who play in the first two weeks of camp.
Filion said local kids need not feel intimidated to participate in the camp. It is open to any level of players, both boys and and girls. Filion says that the potential for Utah hockey players is huge. He suspects that, as the camp returns each summer, more and more locals kids will want to take part.
"Hopefully we’ll earn our respect and we’ll see more support from the community," Filion said.
Although the Northeast, Michigan and Minnesota are generally the hotbeds for American hockey talent, Filion said that talented athletes live everywhere. He and Claude found three players from Idaho and seven from Utah to attend their high-level camp and five of the Utah players have already made their AAA travel team next year. He said that a big part of locals’ camps is to offer opportunities that might not otherwise be as readily available in an area where the sport is still growing. In fact, they are building a hockey-focused high school academy in Phoenix that is comparable to the ones in New England.
"Hockey has been good to Claude and me," Filion said. "And it means a lot to be able to give back to kids. When we see them we see ourselves 30 years back."
Filion said that what sets his camp apart from others is the level of coaching. It has involved coaches from NHL and Division I college hockey programs.
"Our staff is probably one of the best," Filion said. We don’t have any junior kids coaching."
They offer a variety of strength and conditioning training. Besides on-ice drills, local participants will also spend some time doing dryland training and receive nutritional counseling.
Locals have already infiltrated the camp to some extent. Players and coaches from the Park City High School hockey team have been helping to keep campers organized and Filion says that their support has been "unreal" the entire time.
He said that they will asses the talent level of the local campers and adjust the camp appropriately.
The local camp will be held July 14-18. To learn more about the academy and sign up for the locals’ camp, visit http://www.lemieuxacademy.com.
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