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Summer vacation is almost over and a new youth hockey season waits in the wings. As a testament to the growth of youth hockey in the South and the recognition that a year round training regimen is the one of the tried and true methods of improving hockey skills. Many hockey camps were filled to capacity this summer with players eager to improve.
Yan Kaminsky’s camp has developed in just a few years into a “must attend” event for many youth players in the area.
Kaminsky migrated to Atlanta after being a member of the Soviet HC Dynamo team in Russia and the NHL New York Islanders and Winnipeg Jets. Kaminsky has gained a reputation as a superb personal hockey trainer and youth hockey director. Many of his students travel from other states to get instruction from him.
His camps are rigorous and painful enough to help many Georgia youth players develop and improve their skating skills and stamina. His knowledge on what it takes to reach the highest competitive level makes him a unique commodity in Atlanta, Georgia.
Beside Kaminsky’s camp, several other hockey camps were offered at the Cooler and the MIC and several roller hockey summer programs.
At the AAA level several tournaments took place including the TPH Elite Camp, Showdown in Motown, the Chi-Town tournament and the prestigious Supersonic Danglers camp in Vermont.
The Danglers program is unique in that it only selects youth players to attend their camp by observation and invitation.
According to a event organizer “every summer, 68 highly skilled hockey players from across the nation gather in Manchester, Vermont for a week of high-level hockey and high-level fun!”
The camp website said”the Supersonic Danglers Development program has three primary objectives.
1. Provide great hockey players with the knowledge, support, player development, and training to help them reach their long-term hockey goals.
2. Create a rich environment of spirited competition, great new friendships, and big time fun!
3. Introduce the players to Cardigan Mountain School, future prep options, and college hockey. “
As an authentication of the continued strides being made in Southern hockey circles, several 2000 age group TPH Thunder players were invited to the camp.
Teammates Anthony Mandravellos, Cooper Fensterstock, Jonathan Shaw, Matt Shriver, Zach Conner and Sean McAvoy were all invited to the week long camp which included intensive morning instruction and tournament style games every evening.
The Thunder players were divided into four teams named after well known division one (D1) college hockey schools: Lowell, Yale, Quinnipiac, and St. Cloud.”
Cooper Fensterstock also received praise earning honorable mention in game one and assisting on the game winning overtime goal in the championship.
Anthony Mandravellos received honorable mention in game 3 for Lowell and further impressed with a game tying goal in the championship match.
Jonathan Shaw and Matt Shriver received honorable mention performing for Yale and Quinnipiac in game 3 and 4 respectively.
Sean McAvoy tallied 2 goals for St. Cloud in the Danglers Cup championship game.
Noteworthy was the fact that the camp utilized a mixture of ’99 age group players with the 2000’s which created a tremendously competitive and physical environment.
The TPH Thunder program earned unexpected praise having four players receive honorable mention. Shriver, Mandravellos, and Shaw received the recognition on defense while Fensterstock received praise as a forward.
Since most of the players attending the camp were from northern cities and other hockey hotbeds all over North America there was some surprise that Southern based youth players performed so well.
McAvoy made his mark in the championship game giving the Thunder an impressive representation within the invited group of top youth players.
The dominant defenseman in the tournament (which showcased several excellent defensive performers) was Kevin Wright who displayed an impressive combination of size, physicality, skating, and hockey sense. Wright scored 2 goals in the championship matchup and was intimidating and effective throughout the entire series.
Also receiving honorable mention was Connor Laurendeau of the Minuteman Flames AAA 2000 Team. The Minuteman Flames, one of 102 teams from 14 countries, competed in the Quebec Peewee tournament. The Flames won 6 games in a row at the Pepsi Coliseum to capture the title playing in front of over 10,000 fans in the quarter, semi and final games. The final three games were televised in French and English on Canadian Television. It was only the second time in the 54 year history of the tournament that a New England based team has won the Elite Division title of the tournament.
The top player honor in the camp was awarded to Christian Powers, although he was not a factor in the final game.
Danglers coach Mark Damica said the organization is meticulous in efforts to recruit the best bantam level players in the country for the camp.
“I scout major tournaments (Bauer in Chicago, Peewee Tournament is Quebec, various Superseries) and look for smart hockey players who are highly skilled and possess quickness and speed.
We had another great group this summer.
They are (youth players) invited to the Supersonic Danglers camp because of their talent level and potential to move on to the next level and these boys proved themselves all week during the camp.
I find that there are very talented kids all over the country, not just in the hockey hotbeds. We really liked the play of the kids from the Southern Region and were very impressed with the overall level of play of every players invited; we were very pleased with the high caliber.”
Campers who received player of the game honors and honorable mentions received Dangler hockey socks and a Dangler commemorative respectively, for their performances during the series.
“It's tradition that once you become Supersonic Dangler, you are always welcome to return the following year. All of this year's 2000's will be invited back next summer.”