PORT McNEILL—Clayton Stoner proved you don’t need have the Stanley Cup in your grasp to put a smile on the face of a young hockey player.
Stoner, the Port McNeill-raised skater who now plays with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, returned to Chilton Regional Arena last week for the second annual Clayton Stoner Summer Hockey Camp.
The weeklong camp, hosted by Andy Seppanen’s Victoria-based Progressive Goaltending, drew dozens of youngster from the North Island and beyond, including players from Campbell River and the Comox Valley.
The camp was divided into two sections, for younger and older players. It wrapped up Saturday with a scrimmages between teams coached by Stoner and fellow Port McNeill pro Ben Olson that included NHL-style introductions under a spotlight.
After the games, players had a chance to get sticks, jerseys and other equipment — and occasionally an arm — autographed by Stoner and Olson. The meet-and-greet with the players was a highlight for the players, who posed with the pros for photos after getting their autographs.
The camp was the second of three held at the arena this summer. The previous week the North Island Eagles hockey program hosted a weeklong camp for local rep hopefuls. This week, Lou Lemire is back from the Okanagan Valley for his fourth annual Lou Lemire Summer Hockey Skills Camp.
On Aug. 12, Willie Mitchell of the Los Angeles Kings is scheduled to appear in Port McNeill, bringing the Stanley Cup for its first appearance in his hometown.