For the first time ever, little girl hockey players got to experience a day in the life of a varsity hockey player. The event was the inaugural Mini-Cards Hockey Camp Aug. 18 at the Coon Rapids Ice Center.
“We are making a big push for community support and building strength in our hockey program and this was just the beginning of what people can expect to see from us,” said Jessica Christopherson, head coach of the Coon Rapids High School (CRHS) girls’ hockey team.
Some two dozen little girls, ages seven to 10 years old, spent the day imagining life as a Cardinal.
First, they met in the CRHS locker room, which had been personalized with name plates, player passes and t-shirts hanging in the stalls.
Then the girls headed to the ice arena for a 45-minute pre-game skate, followed by a dryland workout of plyometrics and sprints.
After the morning workout, the girls changed and headed upstairs for lunch, where they were joined by Rachael Bona, who delivered a spirited pep talk.
Bona, a former CRHS hockey star, led the Cardinals to a third-place finish at the 2011 state tournament. Most recently, Bona helped the University of Minnesota win an NCAA Division 1 championship in her freshman year.
Christopherson said Bona spoke to the girls about hard work on and off the ice, as well as in the classroom.
The girls also had an opportunity to ask their own questions and take pictures with Bona and the national championship trophy.
After lunch, the Mini-Cards did some off-ice stickhandling and shooting drills before heading back to the locker room to get ready for the day’s big game.
Pregame activities had the girls shoot, stretch, dress and then gather for the coach talk.
CTN Studios filmed the entire Mini-Cards event and Joe Yund served as play-by-play announcer for the Mini-Cards game, introducing each player before the national anthem was played and the puck was dropped to start the game.
The girls battled and played to a 9-7 victory by the white team.
“It was a great day,” said Christopherson.
Each girl went home with a souvenir Mini-Cards Camp T-shirt and a commemorative DVD of the event.
Each girl brought their own hockey equipment and camp was offered at no charge to the mini campers.
Christopherson said she hopes to make Mini-Cards Camp an annual event.
Sue Austreng is at [email protected]