Breathe in, slapshot, breathe out: How 1 hockey camp is trying to make youngsters more mindful

·1 min read
Former hockey player James McEwan leads campgoers on a yoga session at the end of a day's work at Infinite Ice. He wants to make future hockey players more mindful, keeping in mind the sport's toxic reputation. (Submitted by James McEwan - image credit)
Former hockey player James McEwan leads campgoers on a yoga session at the end of a day's work at Infinite Ice. He wants to make future hockey players more mindful, keeping in mind the sport's toxic reputation. (Submitted by James McEwan - image credit)

A hockey camp based in northern B.C. doesn't just teach aspiring skaters to shoot and pass — it also teaches them mindfulness, meditation, and community service.

Infinite Ice was founded by James McEwan, a former captain of the Kelowna Rockets in the Western Hockey League, in 2019.

The camps have players from ages 7-16, and incorporates breathing exercises and meditation at the end of every day.

McEwan said his experience with professional junior hockey showed him firsthand the implications of violence and toxicity that are rooted in the game.

"I think it's a really important thing to teach young players and families the skills [...] that are going to bring more help, more respect into the game and for one another," he told CBC's The Early Edition.

Coaches at the camps teach players the values of respect and not inflicting harm, he said, which help kids become better people in addition to better players.

Submitted by Zachary Carlyle
Submitted by Zachary Carlyle

"It feels, like, really good to just talk about your mental health and have yoga after like a 10-hour session of a hockey camp," said Zachary Carlyle, a 16-year-old aspiring hockey player who lives in Terrace.

Carlyle has attended the camps for three years, and says the game has changed rapidly in the past three decades.

"Now, I think the game's more about speed. Like 30 years ago, say, the game was more about big bodies and hitting," he told Stephen Quinn, host of The Early Edition.

"I think my generation's becoming a lot more faster."

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