CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Allan Andrews, who looks like he could still play competitive noon hockey at UPEI, is closing in on the 40th anniversary of the hockey school that bears his name and he is still going strong.
Andrews Hockey Growth Programs is now in full swing for the summer months and from now until mid-September, the hockey camp will have seen about 2,500 youngsters from more than 20 countries graduate from various skill programs.
If you multiply the hockey development graduates by the number of parents, grandparents and family that visit P.E.I. because of the camps, the number of people that come here as a result of the school is astonishing. I can imagine the positive impact it has on the bottom line at the UPEI campus as many of the attendees stay on campus, which is usually empty in the summer months. Many attendees stay in and around the city and they spend money – try finding a modest hotel room in this city in July and August.
I dropped by the Andrews facility at the Bell Aliant Centre last weekend to drop a puck to officially open an international game in front of a big cast of hockey scouts from university and other post-secondary institutions. The schools from Ohio, New York, New Jersey and all the Canadian provinces had representatives at booths in the foyer manned by individuals with high people skills — just the kind you would expect to see at the point of first contact, it was eye opening.
Many of the finest schools in the world, places like Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford, the University of Toronto, McGill, Queens and more have pictures and profiles of their most distinguished graduates somewhere prominent on campus. The Andrews program also has pictures of their prominent graduates on display and they include Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon and Brad Marchand, unquestionably three of the top five hockey players in the world today. There is no doubting the reality Andrews Hockey is a world leader in hockey development. The glowing letters of recommendation from graduates like Crosby speak volumes about the program and about Allan Andrews.
I have often mentioned to fellow companions how impressed I am with how well many of today's hockey stars handle the media in the one-on-one interviews. They always seem to say the right things, especially Sidney and Nathan. To my surprise, it is not just hockey skills that are taught at Andrews Hockey Growth, but communication and leadership skills are also part of the advanced curriculum. If Allan and his group ever get tired of hockey, they could perhaps become a finishing school for many of our politicians.
Andrews Hockey Growth Programs employ something like 100 people during the peak summer months as well as full-time directors Josh Andrews, Jason Malone, Brad MacKenzie, Colin Webster and Paul Drew. The camps are run here on Prince Edward Island year-round and, in addition, satellite camps are conducted in Switzerland, Norway, Newfoundland, Iqaluit and other Maritime locations.
“Although we are in the hockey development skills business, we are also concerned about building better citizens,” Andrews said. “I'd think this is another reason graduates like Crosby, MacKinnon and our own Adam McQuaid are quick to recommend this hockey school to others.”
If you are looking for something to do during the next two months, visit the Andrews Hockey Growth Programs drop in for a visit, you may even see one of your NHL stars watching what's happening.
Need to know
Details about Andrews Hockey Growth Programs:
- Largest single location hockey school in the world.
- 80 seasonal and 20 full-time/permanent part-time staff.
- 85 per cent of participants are from off-Island.
- Average family attending the hockey school comes with four family members and stays an average of eight nights.
- Hosts five major tournaments annually.
The Atlantic Hockey Showcase included 91 girls and 282 boys from the following 12 countries: Switzerland, Slovenia, England, Croatia, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Italy, Japan, China, Canada and the United States of Amercia.
There were 2,561 participants in the 2017 Andrews Hockey Summer Camp from the following 19 countries: Scotland, Bermuda, Japan, USA, China, England, Switzerland, France, Finland, Canada, Norway, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Taiwan and United Kingdom.
The Charlottetown Junior Islanders are back in action today at Memorial Field in a twinbill against the Fredericton Royals in New Brunswick Junior Baseball League play. The Islanders swept Saint John Alpines last week to improve to 7-7 on the season.
Josh Myers lead the way offensively last weekend with support from Chasse Gallant, Elijah Hood and Kyle Pinksen. Today’s first pitch is at noon.
Adam Binkley sends word the Boys and Girls of Summerside Club Celebrity Dinner goes on Monday, July 16, at the Wellness Centre in Summerside. Besides NHL coach of the year Gerard Gallant, the growing list of celebrities includes ex-Bruins great Rick Middleton, Pete Mahovlich, George Chuvalo, Philadelphia Eagles great Brian Westbrook and TSN broadcaster Natasha Staniszewski.
The auction items include many autographed vintage jerseys of veterans like Bill MacMillan and Al MacAdam plus many others. The three-day event starts Sunday, July 15, and concludes with the golf on Tuesday.
Live harness racing continues tonight at 6 p.m. at the city track with a 12-dash card.
The $2,500 open has last week’s winner Rose Run Quest against Czar Seelster, In Spades and Euchred with Heart and Soul at the rail and Keep Coming next. It's a tough field.
The $2,350 open mares is another tough class but newcomer Sodwana Bay from Post 5 looks like the favourite. This mare is co-owned by Wayne MacRae and Howmac Farms and she's been sharp since shipping here from Ontario, including a win in 1:55:3 at Summerside and in 1:56 and change here last week. This ownership duo has been hot of late, Twomacsoneshadow scored in 1:53 and change at Yonkers on Wednesday for Mark MacDonald, Howmacfiesty bred by the same duo was third beaten a neck in 1:53:2 in the $10,500 top class at Georgian in a race won by Charlottetown's Jason Ryana with Pretty Hot. Also, two-year-old trotter Darlington Hall (Angus Hall) was very sharp in qualifying in 2:01:4, with the last quarter in 28 flat.
At Mohawk tonight, Easy Lover Hanover and Ellis Park look the best in the $34,000 open. A huge card at Pocono tonight, Lawmaker and Anthony MacDonald have the rail in the $500,000 Earl Beal Memorial where unbeaten Manchego is the heavy favourite. In the $500,000 Max Hempt memorial, Lather Up has Post 7, but he looks like the best.
At Yonkers, New York, Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald) has Post 4 in the six-horse $44,000 open handicap.
Veteran Harry Poulton, who trains many of the TheStable.Ca's owned Ontario sire stakes-eligible babies was in the winner’s circle Thursday with freshman trotter White Tiger, who won easily in 1:59:1 and appears to have a bright future.
Fred MacDonald's column appears every Saturday in The Guardian. He can be reached at email@example.com.