Garth Brooks and Teammates for Kids partnered to host a youth sports camp in the latest city on Brooks' world tour--Winnipeg. On Saturday, sixty boys and girls ages 9-13 gathered at the Notre Dame Recreation Centre, where they had the opportunity to practice their stick-handling skills at a ball hockey camp coached by none other than Michael Hutchinson of the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba native Quinton Howden of the Florida Panthers. Hutchinson has been a Teammate since 2014 and Howden since 2015.
The young athletes, invited through Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Winnipeg, attended the camp for free thanks to Teammates for Kids. As they were coached through several drills, Brooks cheered them on and gave a pep talk. He encouraged all of the kids to develop a love for the sport and for each other. He also praised Hutchinson and Howden for giving their time at the camp, saying, "My favourite thing is these guys are from here, these guys play the sport, so these kids get to see somebody just like them, that set their dreams on this and then they go forward."
The NHL stars also raved about their experience at the camp. "It's gold," said Howden. "You're trying to give them some help and guide them along, but as much fun as they're having, we're having fun. We're laughing along with them and they're teaching us to get back and enjoy the game like we did when we grew up."
Hutchinson added, ”The coaches did such a good job installing structure and preaching the words of wisdom in the kids right off the bat in a fun, safe atmosphere. It was so cool to see the transformation of the kids over the three hours.”
One of the youths, Chase Catellier, who didn't know who Garth Brooks was until after the event, he said it was "pretty cool" to experience training from NHL players and get a few tips on life from Brooks himself. "I felt pretty special," he said.
Teammates For Kids presents the Good Teammate Award at each youth sports camp they sponsor. The award recognizes the young athletes who best demonstrate the traits of a Total Teammate, including leadership, toughness, unselfishness, and respect for the game and all of its participants. In Winnipeg, Good Teammate Awards were presented to: Chloe McKay, age 9; Daniel Karimi, age 12; and T.J. Head, age 13.
Teammates will continue to partner with Brooks to hold youth sports camps at every city on his World Tour. Brooks and Teammate athletes in each city will volunteer their time to coach kids in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, or soccer.