Summer is a season that most people look forward; great weather, longer days and usually more time spent with friends and family. It’s also means summer camp season. For us here at CHE, it’s a time we look forward to all year. We have been running summer camps since 1987, so needless to say they have become a long-standing tradition for us.
For us, it all began in the small community of Ennismore, Ontario before moving 20 minutes south into Peterborough, Ontario and eventually expanding to include camps all over North America.
This year we have camps in Peterborough, Banff, Kelowna, Whistler, Vancouver, Lake Placid, Traverse City and Minneapolis.
At CHE we offer several different styles of camps, including a Power Skating & Skills program, Hockey Fundamentals, Snipers program, Defenceman, Specialized Goalie program, Acceleration; Goal Scoring & Puck Control, Junior/College/Showcase, an Elite program, Just for Girls, Tyke, Hockey & Lacrosse Program and a Multi-Sport program which includes Swimming, Lacrosse, Soccer, Basketball & Hiking …and of course, hockey!
Our programs range from beginner to advanced and feature instructors from various backgrounds such as OHL players, NCAA, Olympians, European Pros, plus a few surprise NHL guests; which this year will include superstars Mike Fisher and Corey Perry! Online registration opened a few weeks ago and as always, the response has been tremendous. One thing about our camps is they always fill up fast so be sure to register early so you don’t miss out!!
The Hobey Baker Award has been given out to a male hockey player in the NCAA since 1981 with notable recipients including: Paul Kariya, Brendan Morrison, Chris Drury, Jordan Leopold, Ryan Miller, Matt Carle and most recently, Johnny Hockey (Johnny Gaudreau). The award winner must “exhibit strength of character both on and off the ice” and “contribute to the integrity of the team and display outstanding skills in all phases of the game.” CHE is excited and proud to announce that 3 former CHE campers are among the nominees for this years award.
Matt Ginn from Lindsay, ON is a Senior at Holy Cross and leads Atlantic Hockey with a .933 save percentage and 2.01 goals against average. In his 4 years down in Worcester, Matt has set the school record for career saves (3244), shutouts (7), and minutes played (7044:05). A long time camper who attending the Specialized Goalie Program for many years, Matt enjoyed his time at the camp so much he went on to be a camp councilor, and ultimately one of our head goalie instructors. Good luck Ginner, we’re pulling for you.
Mitch Gillam from Peterborough, ON has had a stellar Sophomore year at Cornell University, leading the nation with a staggeringly low 1.26 goals against average and .958 save percentage. He has allowed one or fewer goals in seven of his nine starts this season. Another longtime participant in the Specialized Goalie Program, Gillam spent many summers refining his skills under the tutelage of Red Wings goalie coach Jim Bedard and other CHE instructors. Good luck Mitch!
Brett Seney from London, ON attended the Junior / College / AAA Conditioning Program for many years, always leading the ongoing week long tournament in scoring against some of the best young talent from across the country. Brett’s NCAA career has gotten off to a quick start, and in his rookie season at Merrimack College, Brett leads the team with 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists), an 18.1% shooting percentage (shoot the puck Seney), and a +6 plus/minus. He is currently tied for 2nd in rookie scoring in the HEA and tied for 8th in rookie points per game across the nation with a 0.88 scoring average. A long shot to win this year, there’s no doubt a Hobey Baker could be in Brett’s future.
From everyone here at CHE, good luck to all 3 nominees and we hope to see you lift the award high and proud in 3 months.
After a fine performance in the Memorial Cup Championships this past Sunday, this weeks Throw Back Thursday is dedicated to the scariest person, best fisherman and most successful coach I know, the assistant coach of the 2014 Memorial Cup finalist Guelph Storm, Bill Stewart.
Bill Stewart, or “Stewie” as I affectionately call him is the scariest human being I’ve ever met. I mean look at the image above and imagine skating down the wing towards that intimidating creature. That’s him smiling. He’s incredibly happy to have his picture taken, especially in the uniform of his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs. Stewie made his first strides in the NHL for the Buffalo Sabres in 1977 after being drafted 68th overall after a well traveled junior career. Known for his rough and tumble style, Bill had soft hands and heavy mitts and went on to have a relatively successful professional career bouncing between the AHL and NHL for 9 years before truly finding his calling in Italy. After 7 seasons in Italy he was able to get Italian citizenship and played for the Italian National Team in the 1992 and 1993 World Championships as well as the 1992 and 1994 Olympic Games.
After a lengthy playing career, Stewie pursued his next calling where he stood behind the bench and scared the hell out of his players until they played exactly how he wanted them to. His coaching career took a more linear progression than his playing career,. and he seemed to rocket from Ontario Jr B, to winning an OHL championship with the Oshawa Generals, to coaching in the AHL and finally a stint with the New York Islanders all within the first 4 years of retirement. Though the NHL job didn’t last for long, he quickly rebounded the following year taking the Barrie Colts to the Memorial Cup finals where they ultimately lost. After a questionable incident involving Vladimir Chernenko hiding in the equipment bags under the bus travelling over the US border, Stewie took his brilliant coaching style over to the German Elite League where he immediately won a Championship in Mannheim, where he may or may not have faked a heart attack during the finals to buy an extra timeout.
Terrifying I know!!! Finally, after 8 years in Germany and some heart to heart talks with CHL Commissioner David Branch, Stewie is back at the helm with the Guelph Storm along with fellow CHE hockey camp instructor Mike Kelly. Together for the past 3 years, they built the Storm into a veritable force to be reckoned with and the team to beat heading into this years Memorial Cup tournament. Ultimately they lost by 1 goal in a crushing defeat to the Edmonton Oil Kings this past Sunday, in his 3rd appearance in the Memorial Cup finals in 5 years as a coach. That’s right. 60% of the time he’s spent in the OHL has ended in the Memorial Cup finals.
From everyone here at Canadian Hockey Enterprises, we want to send a hearty congratulations to Bill Stewart, Mike Kelly and everyone else in the Guelph Storm organization and we look forward to seeing both of you at the Peterborough camps this summer.
Once again, don’t forget to vote for the latest and greatest CHE tournament location. Nashville once again made it through however (and not surprisingly) Honolulu took over the spot formerly held by Halifax. Halifax is great but….come on….Hawaii!!!
I know it’s been a while since I’ve written anything, but for those of you who know me and our business you’d know we just worked our way through an extremely intense month of Adult Hockey Tournaments. Each spring, typically starting on the last weekend of March and wrapping up on the first weekend of May, Canadian Hockey Enterprises runs 23 adult recreational hockey tournaments in Banff, Ottawa, London, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Chicago, Niagara Falls, Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, Atlantic City, Kelowna, Montreal, Quebec City and Lake Placid. Needless to say we rack up a lot of air miles in April! It’s an incredibly busy and stressful time for everyone in our office, but it’s also extremely rewarding as the bulk of our work from September to March comes to fruition during the tournament season. Whether teams have been coming for 20 years or it’s their first time, we have great opportunities to connect face to face with our customers and seeing the smiles on their faces during the games makes all of the effort worth while. So I asked some of the staff to share some of the more memorable stories they had from this past month and I’ll be posting the stories throughout the next couple of weeks.
Mike McCabe thought he was a lucky man when he found out he was heading to Chicago April 2 – 6 to run our Chicago tournament once again. There were 16 teams heading to the windy city from Phoenix to Finland and everywhere in between, and for those lucky enough to get an extra day off work, some teams were able to catch the Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild game on the Thursday night. But what Mike didn’t know was that his luck would pale in comparison to Dan Walper of the Great Canadian Oilers from Delisle, SK. The Oilers were enjoying a sneak peak of this years Central Division Championships, having a couple of cool refreshing beverages along with a full United Center crowd. It was anything but typical Thursday night for the boys from rural Saskatchewan but it got even stranger with the announcement of the night’s 50/50 draw, as Dan looked at his ticket with a shocked expression having realized he’d won!!! His team didn’t get to take home a trophy, but at least Dan had $14 000 to bring with him, and I’m sure every cup winner would trade him in a heartbeat.
Stories like these are what make this job exciting and what inspire us to come up with new and exciting tournament ideas for our teams to take advantage of. Over the year’s we’ve slowly introduced new locations such as Chicago and Phoenix that have proven to be extremely popular, while some other destinations like Denver and St. John’s have fizzled out. We want to know where YOU want to go and will be running an ongoing survey as we share some of our stories. The top 2 locations from this posts survey will continue on for the next 4 or 5 posts until we have solid evidence that teams want to go _______! So make sure you vote for your preferred location on each post so we can set up the tournament of your choice.
2013 was another great year here at Canadian Hockey Enterprises, and we expect 2014 to be even better. From all of us at Canadian Hockey Enterprises, a Happy New Year to you and your families and we’ll see you in 2014.
I’m sitting about 20 rows up at the Peterborough Memorial Centre watching the Petes take on the visiting Windsor Spitfires on a typical Thursday night of OHL action. I never went to many games, but when CHE councillor and family friend Steve Webb was in town with the Spitfires it was as good a reason as any. And finally, midway through the 3rd period, a quiet skirmish in the corner quickly erupted as Webby and Petes tough guy Matt Johnson squared off at the far end of the ice. Giving up 7 inches and 25 pounds, little Webby (comparative term) did more than hold his own as he fired his fists as quickly humanly possible for a minute or so until both players fell to the ice on top of a pool of blood. “Looks like Webby caught him.” said my dad as both players left the ice in front of a roaring crowd, the home town boy having beat up on the local teams goon. Until we ran into him after the game, we had no idea how wrong we were. “Got a fresh zipper Crow.” Steve says to my dad in a wraspy voice with a wry smile and a wink. He was never the biggest, fastest or strongest player, but there’s one thing that Steve Webb figured out early and did really well: stuck to his roll.
Drafted 176th overall to the Buffalo Sabres in 1994, it took just 2 years for Webby to make his mark in the NHL with the New York Islanders where he quickly gained the respect of his team-mates and the local community. His hard nosed, blue collar style was exactly what the Long Island fans were looking for after years of sub par teams. But it was during the 2002 playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs the he really made his mark, much to the chagrin of the Maple Leafs faithful. He made such an impact with the Islander fans a packed Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum chanting his name after he annihilated Darcy Tucker into the boards. (Tucker had earlier taken out Islanders captain Michael Peca who missed the rest of the series). For a self proclaimed ‘slow skater, bad passer and poor shooter” he had a fantastic career in Long Island. And some dedicated fans have even compiled a video of his impact (literally & figuratively) here. (NSFW + volume)
These days, Steve has taken his desire to help out his team mates and transferred those skills and desires to helping out people in need in his community. He started to take part in organizing fundraisers for student athletes, super long bike rides for cancer and all kinds of community activities. He founded the W20 Foundation in 2007 in order to help student athletes in need be able to attend the college or university of their choice. W20 is encompassed within Team Up 4 Community and continue to help local athletes take the steps necessary to achieve their dreams. (http://www.teamup4community.org/) He also works with the NHLPA as a divisional representative and from time to time he even graces us with his presence at one of our Adult Hockey Tournament or Camps. Usually he goes to Lake Placid…he really likes Lake Placid.
Look at those beautiful, blonde locks….and complete lack of protective equipment for his upper body. That would be NHL great and CHE staff member Gilles Gilbert, star of today’s edition of the CHE blog.
If you’ve ever brought a team to one of our adult or youth tournaments, especially Montreal or Lake Placid, chances are you’ve met Monsieur Gilbert. In fact, he’s probably yelled at you to hurry up and get your team ready so your game starts on time, because if there’s one thing Gilles is known for, it’s his extreme respect for punctuality….and his perfect penmanship, I’ mean look at that signature!
Born in Saint-Esprit, QC just outside of Quebec City in 1949, Gilles was a fantastic athlete from an early age, excelling in hockey as a goaltender in the winter and baseball as a pitcher in the summer. By the time he was 17 years old he had both the MLB and NHL knocking on his door and had to make a choice, ultimately choosing to pursue a career in hockey. He was drafted 25th overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1969, but didn’t really find his groove until he was traded to the star studded Boston Bruins in 1973 where he helped take the team to the Stanley Cup finals and being invited to the All Star game that same season. He played 6 more seasons with Boston before trying his luck with the Detroit Red Wings for his final 3 seasons.
Known for his athleticism and cat like reflex’s, Gilles still holds a couple of NHL records: points percentage earned by a starting goalie (0.843) and most consecutive wins by a starting goalie (15) both attained during the 1975-76 season where he had a record of 33-8-10. It’s always a fun time when a current goalie gets to 13 or 14 wins these days as we get to watch Gilles yell at the TV, cheering adamantly against said goalie. We get to see a similar demeanour every time Don Cherry replays their overtime game 7 loss (Gilles was in net) against the Montreal Canadiens in 1979.
Since his retirement, Gilles has worked with CHE as an instructor for our Adult and Youth hockey camps, and as a rink manager/celebrity during our adult tournaments. That’s right, this NHL great will be the kindly gentleman handing out game sheets and room locks this weekend in Montreal, but ask him for an autograph and he’ll be happy to give you his time. Always a professional, no matter what his profession is.
For many years here at Canadian Hockey Enterprises we’ve run a small tournament, maybe 12 teams, that ran in November each year in Las Vegas. We’d always had a fall event in Montreal, but decided in the early 2000’s to offer something in Las Vegas to give our western teams an option for tournaments in the fall, at least an option with cheaper flights. Then 5 year’s ago, with tournament enrolment hitting a record low with just 4 teams teams, we decided the November Las Vegas tournament needed a makeover, and the Tournament of Champions (TOC) was born.
The premise is simple; create an event where each division is made of of teams who either won or placed 2nd within that same division at a different tournament the previous spring. As if people need an extra incentive to head to Vegas, we decided to give a discount to all teams that make it into the finals during our spring tournaments. Teams that win their division receive a $500 discount and teams that finish 2nd in their division receive a $250 discount. So in the spring of 2010 we began handing out our TOC letters to championship teams at all of our spring tournaments, and the “Let’s go to Vegas” banter began almost immediately.
It was pretty obvious right away that our teams loved the idea. Come November 2010 and the tournament that had just 4 teams the previous year had 24 teams ready to compete for the championship trophy. The it grew to 28 teams. Then 32 teams. And as of tomorrow morning, our 4th Annual Tournament of Champions will have 39 men’s & women’s teams competing for their shot to hoist the Champions Cup.
This year we have teams coming from all over North America and you can keep up with scores and results through our website. Here’s a list of the teams attending.
Santa Barbara Rasputins – Santa Barbara, CA
Beaumont Fogduckers – Beaumont, AB
Dofasco Penguins – Hamilton, ON
Varsity Wings – Calgary, AB
OC Labatt – Santa Ana, CA
Moberly Lakers – Kamloops, BC
Las Vegas Hot Shots – Las Vegas, NV
Strange Brew – Caledonia, ON
Jadaco – Toronto, ON
Himark – Edson, AB
Pilot Butte Old Timers – Pilot Butte, SK
Iron Sheiks – Richmond, BC
Ipsco Junior Ingots – Regina, SK
Red Wings – High Prairie, AB
Drumheller Ratz – Drumheller, AB
Vipers – Holly Springs, NC
Chiefs – Victoria, BC
Warriors – Salmon Arm, BC
Millet Mulishia – Leduc, AB
Bulyea Bandits – Strasbourg, SK
Puck This – Las Vegas, NV
Those Guys – Concord, NH
L.A Chill – Malibu, CA
Highrollers – Stony Plain, AB
Hosers – Edmonton, AB
Phat and Slow – Calgary, AB
Blackhawks – Coquitlam, BC
Hinton Old Warriors – Hinton, AB
Scouts – Levittown, NY
Cyclones – Tampa Bay, FL
Ice Aged – Rossburn, MB
Hawks – Calgary, AB
White Rock Aces – Richmond, BC
Krumbs – McKinney, TX
Hatrick Heroes – Newport Beach, CA
Canadian Bacon – Caledonia, ON
Molson Canadian – Culver City, CA
Crimson Kings – Orange County, CA
Chicago Hawks – Chicago, IL
From everyone here at CHE we wish all participating teams the best of luck this weekend, and if you happen to be in Las Vegas, head over to the Las Vegas Ice Center and check out some of the action.
By far the most rewarding part of my job is the interesting people I get to work with and for throughout the year. Over the years at Canadian Hockey Enterprises we have created a stable staff members so incredibly varied and interesting it’s always great seeing some long time friends in the hotel lobby. Whether it’s listening to Gilles Gilbert complain about light beer, or seeing Murray Price stroll through the lobby in Banff wearing strictly neon apparel, our unique staff members are what makes our tournaments so great.
Then there’s Rob Ralph, or Ralphy as he’s affectionately known.
Seen here in his natural habitat, a young(ish) Rob Ralph, sporting a beautiful red suede brimmed CHE souvenir hat, tries to convince a flock of females to give him their leftover food.
Rob has been with CHE since the beginning and it’s his sense of humor and exuberance that makes him a pleasure to work with. Always willing to play the roll of class clown, Ralphy always has that timely story, joke or commentary to cut the tension in the room., most of which revolve around food. When he’s not working tournaments you can find him replacement workers on buses past picket lines, selling hot dogs in Bracebridge or dancing to disco…anywhere he can find it. If you’d like to see a little bit about Ralphy you can friend him on facebook here and see some of his hilarious and valuable insights, or take a look at this article about his sons, but mostly talks about Rob’s history (here) including his time performing as Ogie Ogilthorpe/bus driver in a live action Slap Shot Tour.
Found this beautiful old brochure for our Adult Hockey Camps in Lake Placid, NY for Throw Back Thursday. Strange thing is, 12 years later our 2013 brochure design has changed quite a bit, but all 3 faces on the 2001 brochure will be back in Lake Placid this October 10 – 13. In fact, I’m pretty sure this picture perfectly captures the halfway point of the 26 year relationship we’ve had with both Dean Gervais and Richie Macias who’ve attended almost every camp in Placid since the beginning. We have some fantastic, long time relationships with many customers from the different aspects of our business, but there really is nothing close to the bond that’s held between CHE and our adult campers, and the adult campers bond with each other. So if you’re in love with the game, like travelling, eating great meals and meeting new people drop us a line as we still have a few spots left in Lake Placid this year.