Bill Atkinson

Sold out hockey school focuses strictly on girls

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

An all-girls hockey camp started last Wednesday night with the ice at the Libro Centre filled with players ages 6-15.

The camp is in its second year and is being directed by Bill Atkinson and Dan Pettypiece. Atkinson said it allows players to “go back to basics” and learn the finer points of the game. The clinic started last year with 36 kids and is sold out this year with over 60 players enrolled.

“It’s the kinds of things coaches can’t do in the middle of the season because they don’t have enough ice time,” said Atkinson.

There are not a lot of all-girls camps, Atkinson believes, and they try to make the clinic at the Libro Centre affordable for everyone. He said a lot of girls don’t feel comfortable on the ice with boys and they are more enthusiastic when they get to compete against other girls.

Girls from around the area have been taking the ice at the Libro Centre for a hockey school.

Girls from around the area have been taking the ice at the Libro Centre for a hockey school.

Atkinson said the all-girls approach works for his three daughters and believes it works better for other girls, as they are not as intimidated on the ice and more motivated.

“I wouldn’t be able to get any of them to go to a mostly boys camp,” said Atkinson.

While basic skating and puck handing skills are taught, Atkinson added they aren’t necessarily trying to create superstars.

“We’re going to teach you how to play hockey so you can enjoy the game,” he said.

Atkinson said there are other coaches as well, including a goalie coach and three girls getting an initial exposure to coaching. He said it is great not only helping players develop, but allowing others to give back through coaching.

The bulk of the players are from Amherstburg, he added, though there are players from LaSalle and Harrow in the camp as well as some others from around the area.

The school has two sessions each Wednesday night through Aug. 23 and also runs Aug. 29.

Weekly girls hockey clinic to run Wednesdays starting July 26

 

By Ron Giofu

A girls hockey summer training program is returning to the Libro Centre.

Bill Atkinson is the director of the female power skating and hockey clinic and Dan Pettypiece is the co-director. It starts July 26 and runs for six weeks for ages 6-15.

“We actually started the program last summer recognizing there was a need for strictly girls hockey programs in the area,” said Pettypiece. “We had one group last year ranging in age 5 to 15 which presented some challenges with the different skill levels all being on the ice at once.”

Pettypiece noted the program was sold out and it had a waiting list.

“This year we decided to offer two age groups (6-10 and 11-15). Bill worked approximately15 years for me back in the old Tri-Com Hockey School days and after several years away from the business he decided to jump back in. One of the motivating factors for him was the fact that he now has three girls playing hockey and he enjoys being a part of their hockey experience. He is very passionate about teaching the skills especially skating.”

Pettypiece said they have always been on the same page in that regards. He stated Atkinson has been coaching and teaching the game for over 20 years. As for Pettypiece, he said he has never ever been able to leave the game that has meant so much to him.

“I have been coaching and running hockey programs for 40 years now and I still have the same passion as when I started,” said Pettypiece.

The weekly sessions will include a focus on power skating but they will also work on hockey skills each 90-minute session.

Some of the other instructors will be Taylor Conte from the University of Windsor Lancers, Carson Clarke Bartolo and Allison Langille from the Windsor Wildcat midget travel team. It will also feature goalie instructor Jason Dion. The fee is $140.

“One of our main philosophies in teaching skating and hockey skills is emphasizing proper techniques, with drill progression and correcting bad habits,” said Pettypiece. “Too many programs seem to just run drills and have lots of gadgets on the ice but there is not a lot of teaching and correcting which prohibits skill development. We try to slow them down and break the skills down into smaller parts. Otherwise you are not doing your job which is to improve their skill level.”

There are 40 girls registered and they have up to 20 spots available. Contact Bill Atkinson at wma@hotplumbing.com to register.

“We are looking forward to getting back on the ice and working with the girls,” said Pettypiece.

The clinics run each Wednesday from 6-7:20 p.m. and 7:30-8:50 p.m.