The inaugural “AA” developmental hockey camp hasn’t even taken to the ice yet and already co-owner Mike Allison is looking ahead to next year.
Allison said he would like to incorporate a goalie clinic as well as a women’s camp that would run separately from the main one next year.
He also hinted he would like to add a third week to the camp, and bandied about the idea of holding an NHL rookie camp given the second ice surface here—much like the one in Thunder Bay which features the top prospects from the Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers.
Meanwhile, with 173 youngsters (just short of their projected goal of 180) signed up for the camp, which runs here July 19-23 and July 26-30, Allison said he was pleased with how things have gone so far in their first year.
“It’s been wonderful. Everyone’s been supportive, which includes our  partners, which are our sponsors,” said Allison, who owns the camp with his brother, Dave.
“From our standpoint, we have been tremendously happy,” he enthused.
Allison credited their web site for attracting a strong influx of players from the United States, including as far away as California and Texas. In fact, he said they received inquiries from New York but noted many of those were interested in billeting here.
The AA camp currently does not have such a system in place.
“The Internet gives us a much broader area to draw from so people can come see the wonderful Rainy River district,” said Allison. “Everywhere I go, I talk about my hometown of Fort Frances and everyone who comes here just loves it.”
But the key to the future of the camp will be their ability to provide top-notch instruction to the players on—and off—the ice, he stressed.
“First of all, we have to concentrate on our first year and do a wonderful job,” said Allison. “We’ve got to do a good job on the ice and we’ve hired excellent people to help us.”
Besides the Allison brothers, the camp will be led by instructors O.J. Kennett, Sean Taggart, Ruth Contile, and Jeff Edwards.