WMC ice setting for video shoot
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WMC ice setting for video shoot

Young players get a chance to learn from top CHL prospects in Elmira

Guelph Storm’s Jason Dickinson leads Kitchener’s Junior Rangers in a practice at the Jim McLeod Arena.  [Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
Guelph Storm’s Jason Dickinson leads Kitchener’s Junior Rangers in a practice at the Jim McLeod Arena. [Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
Minor hockey players with big-league dreams got some tips this week from Junior players ready to make the jump as instructional video clips were shot on Woolwich Memorial Centre ice.

Top prospects from the CHL went through drills with young players from the ranks of the Kitchener Junior Rangers.

The film shoot was part of a two-day project for a feature to be aired on the NHL Network during the 2013-2014 season.

“I decided to come out tonight because I figured it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m looking forward to meeting all of [the players] because I want to be just like them one day,” minor hockey player Carson White said Monday at the Dan Snyder Arena.

CHL players Sam Reinhart (captain of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice), Jason Dickinson (Guelph Storm, OHL, picked in the first round by the Dallas Stars in the NHL’s 2013 draft), Aaron Ekblad (captain of the Barrie Colts, OHL) and Emile Poirier (Gatineau Olympiques, QMJHL, picked in the first round at this year’s draft by the Calgary Flames) doled out advice on the ice during two days of filming, first in Elmira, then again on Tuesday in Barrie.

The Kitchener minor hockey players met with Dickinson and Reinhart, who took the kids through a series of exercises while the cameras rolled.

“We played a three-on-three game and it was a lot of fun because we had to learn how to look for each other to make the passes,” said youngster Matthew Wideman.

“You get to meet professional hockey players,” fellow player Ty Pierce added.

The shoot was part of a nationwide initiative by Home Hardware, which tied in the production with the annual fall market that sees retailers from all over the country descend on the St. Jacobs headquarters for a semi-annual trade show.

The company has a long relationship with the CHL, said Home Hardware creative director Ron Mugford, noting the players volunteering are some of the best in their leagues.

The project gave CHL players an opportunity to teach kids about proper technique with face-to-face tutelage, said Cliff Feldstein of Promotivate, the company producing the videos.

“All of the features, these tips, will be added together and put into a commercial and the commercial will be running on NHL hockey.”

On the corporate side, the Home Hardware initiative is an effort to show the company’s connection to local communities.

“No matter where the store is there’s always involvement within the community, so this shows that the dealers are helping out kids in the community. Player tips are a bit out of the realm of our expert advice, so we have experts brought in,” said Mugford.

Some local Home Hardware employees have kids playing in the Kitchener minor hockey system, which led to 15 Junior Rangers being chosen to take part in the shoot.

The parents and kids’ coaches got to take in all the action, as well.

“It’s a great opportunity for the boys to promote hockey for young players and they are excited to be in a commercial. They are having lots of fun. They get the day off school and it’s a great teambuilding experience, they‘re just getting into their season. Lots of fun for the boys,” said parent Sue Wideman.

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