Goaltenders reigned supreme at Spectra Place last week when they attended the Gold in the Net camp.
It was Estevan native Daniel Wenham who ran the programs with some help from other goaltenders of the Gold in the Net franchise.
Wenham played the odd game for the Estevan Bruins, but played all over Western Canada, seeing stints in the SJHL, MJHL and BCHL. The 20-year-old now attends the University of Lethbridge and is one of the goalies for their hockey team.
Wenham said they get people attending the goalie camps from all stages of the game and their different programs accommodate each level of development.
“The youngest kids get the intro to goaltending,” he said. “They work on everything basic that they need to work on; proper stances and things. Really, we want to break some of the bad habits, so we can develop more complicated ideas in the future.”
The skill groups go from a beginner program to their special elite program.
Four goaltenders attended the elite camp, three of whom Wenham noted were looking to attend either major junior or junior A camps in the fall.
“They’re really looking into go on to the next level. These guys are in there to play hockey and play at the highest level possible. We realize some people just want to develop their skills a little bit.”
He also said they had a 45-year-old attend their beginner camp one time, so the camps really are for anyone who is looking to improve their game, no matter what level they play at.
Over the course of the week-long camp, the goaltenders had two on-ice sessions each day. There was also an hour of dry-land training each day and some of the goalies watched the program’s 10 disc training set and receive a lecture series.
“We focus on everything from mental toughness to conditioning, nutrition, different techniques that we don’t have enough to explain on the ice and we can get up and go do it in a lecture.”
Wenham noted they have franchises across Canada as well as in Sweden and Finland.
Wenham now owns the Manitoba and Saskatchewan operations for the Gold in the Net program. He books all the camps throughout Prairies, with seven already being planned for next summer.
They held five camps in 2012. After last week’s Estevan camp, they are closing out the summer in Yorkton this week.
Wenham noted they offer Christmas camps as well, and are looking to set something up this year with Estevan Minor Hockey.
Gold in the Net has been around for 26 years, and has been offered in Saskatchewan and Manitoba for the last six. That's when Wenham got involved. He became an instructor with the program when he was 14.
He's now a part owner of Gold in the Net, something he organizes when he isn't attending school.
Wenham didn't come back to Estevan alone. Also part of the camp’s instruction were Axel Lawrence of Nova Scotia and Finland’s Juha Terasvasara.
“They work for the different franchises. The guy from Nova Scotia, this is his fourth summer out here. The guy from Finland has worked in the B.C. program before, and this is his first summer with us.”
Wenham noted the Gold in the Net program has graduated some elite goaltenders. Swedish NHL goaltender and this year’s Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist was one of the first to ever go through the camps. Fellow NHLer and Finn Kari Lehtonen also went through the program and now plays for the Dallas Stars.