Sept. 2, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – As part of Notre Dame’s fourth-annual Pro Hockey Camp, National Hockey League veterans Erik Condra ’09, Ian Cole ’13, Anders Lee ’14 and Riley Sheahan played host to a sold out NHL Alumni Youth Clinic on Wednesday evening (Sept. 2) at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
The clinic included 100 participants from ages 6-13 and was followed by an autograph session with Condra (Tampa Bay Lightning), Cole (Pittsburgh Penguins), Lee (New York Islanders) and Sheahan (Detroit Red Wings). Proceeds from the clinic were used to award an Irish Youth Hockey League scholarship, enabling a local youth player to participate in the travel hockey league during the upcoming season.
“It was great to have so many kids come out and it really shows a hockey community that has been built up over the past few years,” Condra said. “I really think this Arena has helped build that community.”
In his role as Assistant Programming and Instruction Manager at the Compton Family Ice Arena, former Irish hockey player Kevin Deeth ’10, who is also serving as a coach at this week’s pro camp, helped coordinate the clinic.
“Pro camp has really grown over the last four years and we’ve added events and sessions each year,” Deeth explained. “This year [Erik] Condra and I had talked about trying to do something with the community, so we went through a few ideas and came up with the clinic.”
Building in an event to the pro camp schedule to help connect the NHL stars with the Notre Dame and South Bend communities was a natural fit.
“Knowing these four guys from my time here and knowing how each one was involved with the community when they played here, it seemed like a piece that we should add into the week, especially since our local hockey community is growing and becoming even more hockey savvy.”
Demand to attend the event proved to be high and capacity was reached within five days of advertising for the clinic. But, children who could not participate in the on-ice session were still encouraged to stop by the arena afterwards for the autograph session.
“Every kid is going to leave here with a signed poster and a lot of pictures and smiles so it turned into a great event,” Deeth said.
The four pros, who combined for 117 points during the 2014-15 NHL regular season, joined the clinic after a long day of training that included two on-ice sessions sandwiched around an off-ice weight lifting session.
“The fact that our guys were so gracious with their approach and had fun with all the kids really meant a lot; it’s not easy to do that after six hours of exercise,” Deeth added.
Helping to further that hockey bond with the local community also helped strengthen the bonds within the Notre Dame hockey family.
“Everyone has to go their separate ways when they graduate but being back here, skating with these guys, doings things like this clinic brings you right back to how you were – together always as a team and as a family,” Condra concluded.
— by Dan Colleran, Athletics Communications Associate Director