By Tiffany Williams
In 1984 Black Elk Hockey Camp started in Ponoka and it continues to thrive today as growing hockey stars are flocking to the ice.
Gord Jones, co-director of camp, can’t believe that it has been 25 years already.
“We have had a lot of kids, 20 to 30,000 kids. A lot of kids enjoy themselves at our camp. I’ve seen a lot of kids go on and excel after our camp,” said Jones. “There was nothing like this in Central Alberta. It made sense because it is a good location and good setup. We thought it was a good idea and here we are still at it.”
The camp was started with Gord’s sister Marion and brother Richard in Ponoka and he thinks keeping the flagship camp here is good for the community. Jones grew up in Ponoka and says the town has a special place in his heart. He considers the camp more than just a family business and loves it.
“It is still important that Ponoka be our initial location, it’s a great place to have a hockey school,” said Jones.
This year the day camp runs Aug. 17 to 22, the girls camp for ages 12 and up runs from Aug. 22 to 25 and the bantam camp for 15 and up runs from Aug. 22 to 25 at the Ponoka Recreation and Culture Complex.
The camp is full with 150 skaters and 10 goalies. Jones says that there are always three coaches on the ice at all times along with a councilor. It takes approximately 20 to 25 people to run the camp.
The camp will include on ice skills, off ice activity, dry land training, chalk talks, scrimmages and a final game.
“It’s very important for kids to get involved and prepared for the upcoming season. They get sharp and it’s good timing because the season is about to start and it’s fresh for them,” said Jones.
Over all the years he thinks that the kids get two main things out of attending the camp and he always gets a lot out of it as well.
“They have a lot of fun and indirectly they are learning a lot. But the fun is the number one aspect for them and they are learning as well,” said Jones. “I enjoy getting a little ‘long in the tooth’ but I still enjoy getting involved with the kids and staying involved with the game of hockey.”
Camp alumni have played university, college and junior hockey and have also produced some NHL stars. Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes, Greg Pankewicz, Calgary Flames and Harry York, Vancouver Canucks are all graduates from the camp.
For more information on the camp visit www.blackelkhockeycamp.com or call toll free 1-888-338-2686.