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Second year growth benefiting Lamoureux hockey campers

Camp coach Brent Chyzyk, member of the 2016 UND national championship team, preps the varsity level group for a drill on Wednesday, June 27 at Kent Freeman Arena. Robert Williams / Tribune

Skaters at the 2018 Lamoureux hockey camp are ramping up after a month of working out with the schedule to be completed after the Fourth of July holiday.

After a successful first run last summer, the camp numbers have improved across the age brackets and have allowed the training to expand and specialize in each specific hockey group.

“Our camp is catered to on-ice development and we make them work hard, have fun and the most exciting part is seeing the kids make improvements from day one all the way through the month,” said Pierre Lamoureux. “Or if they’re a one-week camper, we’re doing stuff to get the kids out of their comfort zone and we’re seeing them make improvements and having fun doing it too.”

Appealing to players in mites all the way up to the high school varsity level is important across the board for continued camp growth.

“Having a majority of the high school hockey team, plus alumni Jon Richards (sophomore at RPI) is skating with that group - if those kids are genuinely interested in it and enjoying it and getting better - it trickles down to the younger kids,” Lamoureux said. “More importantly, the younger groups, our mites and squirts groups are quite large. We have a strong returning group from last year that are skating again. Having those kids start young and come back year after year, that’s really how you grow it.”

The growth at that young age is what Lamoureux is most excited about.

“To me, it shows we’re doing a good job teaching the kids, making sure they’re having fun,” he said. “It’s crazy. We start at 9 a.m. and we’ve got a group of kids standing at the door 20 minutes before they’re allowed to go on the ice. Being excited to go on - that’s a big deal.”

Sessions are available weekly and for the full month. The high school boys have Monday and Wednesday night evening sessions. Goalies train on weekends, either weekly or monthly and private instruction is also available. The camp format has basically remained the same with a few specific training additions at each level.

“I added some new drills for the younger kids to get them on their outside edges and working on crossovers,” said Lamoureux.”I’ve seen big time improvements in that area.”

The main goal of the 2017 camp was to get each age group to a sustainable number rather than skate peewees and bantams together. With the growth in player numbers, this year’s camp had separate groups for mites, squirts, peewees and bantams.

“It’s a combination of delivering a really good product,” said Lamoureux. “We’re bringing coaches to town with experience at very high levels and they’re able to pass that knowledge on to the campers and the association.”

Given the Lamoureux sisters success with Team USA winning gold at the Pyeongchang Olympic Games and recently Pierre as the assistant coach of the Clark Cup winning Fargo Force this season, the family name continues to benefit the camps they run.

“I think it helps; we’ve had a handful of kids come from Fargo,” said Lamoureux. “Every time a team has success, the individuals benefit from it. It reciprocates with Monique and Jocelyne having success. It really put them on another level of recognition. It’s changed their lives forever. From that, our camp in Detroit Lakes certainly benefits.”

While the Lamoureux sisters were not at camp in Detroit Lakes this year due to commitments elsewhere, the structure remains family affair across the board with brothers Mario and Phil. Mario is running camps in the Bismarck / Mandan area and Phil is doing elite goalie training.

The family used social media and advertisements in Let’s Play Hockey to reach a larger number of people about this year’s camp and have attracted players from the Twin Cities metro, Colorado and Montana.

“I think word is getting out and Detroit Lakes is such a great spot to be in the summertime,” said Lamoureux.

While making the camp successful as a structure is important, Pierre notes the impacts on kids as individuals and growing the game of hockey in Detroit Lakes as the real motivators behind running the operation.

“We had a camper last year and she wanted to quit hockey after her first year,” he said. “Her parents made her come to the camp just to try it out and she had so much fun that she played again this year. For us, being able to have an impact like that is what matters most.”

The Lamoureux hockey camp will return to Detroit Lakes for its third year next summer and Pierre is hoping to continue the upward trend of attracting players to the area, along with utilizing area businesses to help the effort.

“We want to come back and we said we wanted to make this an annual camp,” he said. “We’re making steps in the right direction to grow it. We’ve had a lot more local support, in terms of businesses. We want to make a more concerted effort to do that next year. Anyone who wants to help out and be a part of it, we’d love to have them.”

More information on the Lamoureux camps is available online at lamoureuxhockey.teamsnapsites.com

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

(218) 844-1442
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