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03-29-2012, 03:10 PM
  #46
qmechanic
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I've only been to one adult hockey camp, but it was fantastic and I can't recommend it highly enough. It's called Heartland Hockey Camp and it's run by Steve Jensen, a former NHL and USA Olympic player. I haven't gone in a while, but I did it the summers of 2006 and 2007.

The whole thing is an enormous, self-contained operation located on its own private property in Minnesota. There are 20+ youth hockey camps and the adult camp occurs at the end of the summer in August. When I went, we had one day for orientation (Sunday) and five days of hockey. There was a 4-6 camper to instructor ratio. Steve Jensen is a great guy and really takes a lot of pride in running a fun, instructive camp. The campers were split into different skill groups (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and a group of coaches were assigned to each skill group. Each day, there are two ice practices, one scrimmage, one dryland shooting session, and a video/classroom session.

My first year, Steve Jensen himself coached our group and he was very demanding. He certainly didn't treat us like beginners. I learned a lot about transition skating and the triangle offense. There was also a really smart coach who had a lot of experience teaching women adult players. The rink is equipped with a huge video screen (called the Jumbotron) and microphones/speaker system, so that everyone can hear what is going on. The coaches used the microphones to offer a "game commentary" of the scrimmages. Steve would have a coach video tape our scrimmages and then stop the game and play back the footage to comment on our play.

One of the surprising aspects of the camp was the social atmosphere. A lot of the campers have been going year after year. There was one woman who always buys fireworks for the last night and brings her 80 year old mom's cookies. There is a bar in the rink (yes, you heard me right) and usually a party in the bar during one night of the camp. On the last night of camp, Steve and his wife served all the campers a special dinner with wine, steak, and shrimp. The fact that the camp is in the middle of nowhere in Minnesota helps people bond together since you just eat, sleep, play hockey with the same people day after day.

The camp might seem expensive, but when you count how much ice time you get, the price is well worth it. The mandatory ice time is 3 hours a day (two practices and one scrimmage). Then there are 5 hours of optional ice time in the evening (7 pm - 12 am). You also get a few hours of ice time on the first day when you check in and also there is a scrimmage with the coaches on the day that everyone leaves. So that ends up being 8 x 5 + 3 + 1 = 44 hours of ice time if you can stand it! It is also possible to hire a coach to train with you during the optional ice time. I saw one guy hire a coach to practice his one-timers.

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