Local Hockey Players Learn From the Pros at Twin Ports Pro Development Camp
The camp, owned by Superior natives Mike Sislo and Brett Olson, runs through Thursday at the Superior Ice Arena.
SUPERIOR, Wis. – Local hockey players are getting the chance to strengthen their skills and grow as players this summer. And with the Twin Ports Pro Development that it’s all led by coaches who started their playing careers right here in the Northland.
The 5th annual Twin Ports Pro Development Camp is this week, bringing five pro hockey players back home to help train young local players.
“We want to work on different areas of the game and continue to have fun and improve. From day one to day two, we’ve already seen some improvement, and hopefully by Thursday there will be a lot more of that,” co-founder Mike Sislo said.
Mike Sislo and Brett Olson created the camp and are joined by Duluth East and UMD alum Andy Welinski, as well as other UMD alums Brenden Kotyk and Hunter Miska to help lead and teach the kids.
“I remember I did a bunch of these camps when I was growing up and I thought it was the best time ever. I always looked up to those pro guys. I don’t know if these kids look up to us or not but I think they’re having a good time and that’s the most important thing at this age,” Kotyk said.
Even a few current Bulldogs are part of this year’s camp. UMD women’s hockey standout Gabbie Hughes and Cloquet native and two time national champion Koby Bender both stopped by to help out this week.
“Brett Olson works out at the same weight room at AMSOIL Arena and he came up to me and asked if any of the players would be interested on the girls team and I said well I would. Just because it’s such a good opportunity for these kids to have someone to look up to and all of the pro skaters, the camp is a great thing to be a part of,” Hughes said.
The hockey pros are working with squirt, peewee and bantam level boys and girls this week, teaching them the fundamentals and sharpening their skills.
“We believe here that if you focus on the fundamentals and use those as a building block, everything else falls into place after that and we continue to work on more skills and more speed and passing and shooting and plays like that throughout the camp,” Sislo said.
“A lot of the camps is just scrimmaging and this is a lot of power skating and there’s a ton of just good stuff and it’s a ton of fun,” Matthew Gross said, who’s back for his second year at the Twin Ports Pro Development Camp.
And while the camp is giving the kids the chance to become a better hockey player, the pros hope they can be an inspiration and show that it is possible to achieve their dreams.
“Anything’s possible. As long as you continue to work hard and have fun, you’re going to get better. We try to lead by example and give that example to the kids and anything’s possible for them,” Sislo said.
“I think it’s super special that they have a whole community of hockey players from around here to look up to that play professionally and I think it gives them hope that anywhere, from any place in the state of Minnesota you can be part of that, too,” Hughes added.
“I want to work harder just because of that and hopefully be like one of them someday,” Gross said.
The camp runs through Thursday at the Superior Ice Arena.