BOZEMAN — On early Saturday morning at Haynes Pavilion, Montana State Bobcats head coach Pete Kamman was teaching kids from ages 5 to 16 integral hockey skills.
“We talked to the kids about nutrition and hydration and really just tried to get them competing hard, getting a good workout in and developing their skills, becoming better hockey players,” said Kamman. “My goal is to help them become a better hockey player and in turn that helps them love the game a little bit more and they just enjoy playing.”
The camp focuses on different things, and Saturday's skills to work on were edge work.
“Today we focused mostly on edge work and how we can control the edge of the skates and use that to generate power and deceptiveness and throwing in some puck skills with that as well,” Kamman said.
Kamman brings out some of his MSU players to work with the kids. With the Bobcats' hockey season canceled, it's a good way for them to interact with the community.
“They interact with the kids, the kids get to know who they are and the kids get fired up to see us play when we are able to play," said Kamman.
Hockey remains a club sport in Montana, but Kamman has seen growth in the number in kids participating.
“I think that on the grassroots level, we’re growing a bigger base of players, our numbers are increasing faster than the average across the U.S.," Kamman said. "The game as a whole is growing more participation and what I’ve seen over the last couple of years is we’re having a much higher (level of play), high-end players as well.”
He hopes that they can grow the sport to the point where kids don’t have to leave the state to find competition.
“Our goal is to grow hockey in Montana and get it the best that we can, as big as we can here," Kamman said. "The better job we do at that, the more kids don’t need to leave to find competition."