‘I just want to be like her:’ Emily Clark hockey camp inspiring young athletes

Saskatoon-born Olympian Emily Clark always wanted to run a hockey camp in her hometown, but COVID-19 and Olympic tryouts put those plans on hold.

Finally, this past weekend the EC26 Female Hockey Camp made its debut.

“The greatest thing with our sport is that we get to have these touchpoints with the kids and hopefully inspire them to chase their dreams whether that’s hockey or outside of that,” Clark said. “Just to be a visible role model and for them.”

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Forty-eight enthusiastic female hockey players aged 9-13 trained for three days with both on and off-ice sessions.

“I like it because I’m improving on things I don’t normally work on and it helps seeing one of my mentors helping me out and learning what to do,” camper Silver Hopkins said.

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The camp is an experience also enjoyed by Clark, giving back to young athletes in her home province.

“I tried to keep it small for the first year just so I could really have some one-on-one time with all of them at some point this weekend,” Clark said.

The small-scale camp was deeply appreciated by the athletes who were thrilled to be coached by their idol.

“I think this camp has been going really good,” hockey player Peyton Hipperson said. “I’ve been learning a lot of new skills and doing a lot better on my shots.”

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It wasn’t just Clark teaching these young athletes. She was joined by fellow Olympian Jamie Bourbonnais and her longtime skills coach, Scott Dutertre.

“He was actually my skills coach that I’ve had since I was eight and I’m a pretty good hockey player but I’m not an instructor,” Clark said.

“These girls are really lucky. They are doing the exact same drills I did all growing up trying to get better.”

The impact Dutertre left on Clark is the same one she’s leaving on her campers.

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“Emily is one of my mentors so I just want to be like her,” hockey player Avery Moore said.

Clark wants this camp to become an annual event and welcome more athletes next year.

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