NHL’er lends a hand at local hockey camp

 

By Joel Charron

 

The athletes at the Extra Mile Hockey Academy were surprised to see they had a special guest instructor last Wednesday evening.

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mike Weber stopped by the United Communities Credit Union Complex to teach a couple of power skating lessons to the unsuspecting campers.

Extra Mile

Weber, who grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and played for the Windsor Spitfires during his junior hockey career before getting drafted to Buffalo said he always like coming back to Windsor-Essex County to give back to the community.

“Anything to help out kids,” said Weber. “I was in their position at one point. I was like all these guys trying to get better. Any time I can give back to this community is a very good thing.”

Weber taught two separate one-hour power skating lessons to the Extra Mile Hockey Academy athletes.

During the lesson, Weber taught the campers how to utilize the inside and outside edges as well as how be explosive off the start.

“Mostly everything he taught us was useful for a game situation,” said camper Spencer McConville. “Before every drill he showed us how we can use it in a game and how we can get better at it.”

Weber said the secret to becoming a good skater is no secret at all –  it just take repetition and hard work.

“When I was playing in juniors the biggest knock against me was my skating was questionable,” said Weber. “I worked with D.J. Smith, who was my coach at the time. I worked with him everyday on a constant basis and I was never satisfied because as good as you think you are there are always guys who are better and faster. Skating is something you are always going to need at that elite level.”

McConville said skating wasn’t the only thing that Weber stressed.

“He taught us what it takes and how much you have to put in to be at the same level as him.”

Extra Mile Hockey Academy co-founder Wes Ewer said the kids were glued to Weber the entire time and hung on his every word.

“There no even words to explain how awesome it is to have someone like Mike to come out here,” he said. “These were the best two power skating session we’ve had. Mike’s presence on the ice was amazing. Their eyes just lit up and they were eating up every word Mike had to say.”

Ewer praised Weber for giving up his time to help teach his campers.

“For Mike to come out and run two hours of power skating, take no breaks, sign autographs, take pictures and do it all for nothing speaks volumes about his character,” stated Ewer

“I was very surprised to see somebody of Mike’s caliber in the same hockey as me,” continued McConville. “Not too many NHL players would come down to the small town of Amherstburg. It was a great experience for everyone there.”

The Extra Mile Hockey Academy athletes will have another opportunity to learn from a hockey celebrity this Wednesday. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Meaghan Agosta will be stopping by the camp to offer more types on power skating.

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