The NHLPA and Allstate Canada announced a new partnership on Monday, one that will see the development of a groundbreaking mentorship program designed to assist young hockey players all-across Canada develop the tools they need to succeed, not only on the ice, but off it as well. The new Allstate All-Canadians program will provide young players, coaches and parents with access to exclusive on-ice drills and off-ice development tips directly from NHL players and other hockey industry experts, information that can all be found by visiting www.allstate.all-canadians.com.
The program features six key components that are aimed at giving youth hockey players across Canada insight into some crucial areas of development. These areas are ; hockey skills, nutrition, strength & fitness, mental skills,life skills and fun. Through the websiteplayers, coaches and parents will be able to pick up helpful, specifically developed tips in each area that will help prepare them as they advance in hockey.
“I'm very proud to be standing here today representing the NHLPA to help launch a terrific new program,” said Mike Ouellet, the NHLPA's Chief of Business Affairs, to kick off the event. “A program that will continue to expand our commitment to youth hockey and to the hockey players of today and tomorrow. This truly unique mentorship program is designed to help players, their parents and their coaches get the information they need to get the most out of this great game. The hockey tradition has been passed to us, and we will pass it on to the next generation.”
One of the crown jewels of the program will be a hockey camp hosted each summer in Toronto by former NHL player Gary Roberts, a camp that will see 40 of the top Bantam prospects in the country selected and invited by the NHLPA to attend.
With several current NHL players and trainers that Roberts personally works with on board to take part, the Next Generation Mentorship Camp will take place at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario between August 3rd and 6th of 2011. The camp will be unique in its own right, with an obvious on-ice component, as well as a focus on the skills players develop off of the ice, such as nutrition, physical fitness and leadership.
“I'm very excited to be a part of Allstate All-Canadians Program with the NHLPA, its players and Allstate,” Roberts said. “I was fortunate to spend a lot of years in the NHL and many of those years were spent searching for the right information and strategies to prepare so I could be the best player I could be. Some strategies worked and some didn't, but they all ultimately helped me stay in the game as long as I did.”
Six current NHLPA members were in attendance to help launch the program, with the Toronto Maple Leafs' Tim Brent, Colby Armstrong, Kris Versteeg, Colton Orr, Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Francois Beauchemin all appearing at the D.K (Doc) Seaman Hockey Resource Centre at the MasterCard Centre for the event. Giguere, who is one of the program's six Player Ambassadors, spoke on behalf of his fellow players and addressed how beneficial it could be for kids to lean on professional players for advice.
“Growing up in Montreal” Giguere said, “I looked up to Patrick Roy and he was an idol of mine. But I never really got to meet him or any of the NHL guys that played then, and maybe they would have helped me out when I was a kid, trying to reach my dream. I think it would have meant something special to be able to meet a goalie and see what it is they do to get ready -mentally, physically, what do they eat before games. For me, it will be great to communicate with these kids and hopefully I can help them out.”
Giguere is joined as a player ambassador by Mike Cammalleri of the Montreal Canadiens, Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers, Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes, John Tavares of the New York Islanders and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators
Dr. Paul Dennis, a sports psychologist who has previously worked for the Toronto Maple Leafs as their Player Development Coach, will also be a member of the Allstate All-Canadians team, to help players learn how to achieve their optimal performance.
Allstate Canada, which will help deliver the program's resources to minor hockey communities all across the country, was represented by Jeff Burke, who was thrilled to be a part of today's event, saying “the Allstate All-Canadians program is a tremendous opportunity for us to further our active role in communities across Canada. For us, it's all about giving back through the great sport of hockey.”