BC hockey clinic a positive experience for young Islanders

Mason Jeffers (right) carries the puck in a two on one drill with JJ Mendez. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Last week, thanks to the efforts of Vineyard Squirts coach Peter Gillis, Boston College associate head coach Mike Cavanaugh made a return visit to the Martha’s Vineyard Arena to run a hockey clinic for Vineyard Mites, Squirts, Peewees, and Bantams.

Coach Cavanaugh was joined by a stellar cast, including BC senior captain Pat Mullane, former Eagle and NHL player Bobby Allen, 2011-12 Yale women’s senior captain Aleca Hughes, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin, and, for the final two days of the clinic, BC assistant coach and powerskating expert Greg Brown.

The clinic proved to be a great success both for the young Vineyard skaters and for Martha’s Vineyard Youth Hockey, which was the beneficiary of the proceeds.

During the final day of the clinic, August 9, the Times asked two Vineyard Bantams, Kylie Hatt, 13, of Edgartown and Mason Jeffers, 14, of Oak Bluffs, to relate their experiences of the event.

Kylie Hatt wrote, “Last week I had the chance to participate in a hockey clinic put on by Boston College coaches and players. The team that won the national title. How exciting.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The clinic was four nights. The first night, I couldn’t wait for it to begin, but I was also intimidated by everyone’s skill level. Then I realized, when am I going to get this chance again? I went as hard as I possibly could from that point on.

“They covered every aspect of skating. Not only challenging drills, but they taught us everything from how you position your feet to how much you extend your legs and how much you bend your knees. They were very detailed instructions. We also spent a lot of time passing, shooting, learning balance and flexibility. Everything we need to be great hockey players.

“I want to thank Boston College and all of the coaches and players for coming here to help us. I also want to thank Pete Gillis, because none of this would have happened without him”

Mason Jeffers wrote, “This is my second year participating in the B.C. hockey camp at the Martha’s Vineyard Arena. The camp has been a great experience. It is exciting to skate and get instruction from players who attend Boston College and Yale as well as a B.C. coach. I also helped with the younger players during their camp and got to be in the locker room with the players and coaches, which was a memorable experience. The camp focuses on your balance and shooting drills, stick work, and how to have fun. This is such a great opportunity and I hope it becomes an annual event.”

Mason also told the Times that his favorite part of the clinic was meeting the players and coaches, participating in scrimmages, and seeing the Eagles’ championship rings.

When asked to recount a particularly valuable lesson learned from the clinic, Mason said,”Coach Brown and Coach Cavanaugh stressed that balance is the key to being a good hockey player.”

Passing on what he had learned, Mason helped the younger players by demonstrating the drills and by keeping them focused on the tasks at hand while they waited for their turn to participate.