A pre-season ice hockey camp is boosting the skills of Queenstown youngsters.
This is the fifth year Canadian brothers Boe and Nate Leslie – both former professional players - have hosted the event.
More than 120 kids from across New Zealand, and including 16 from the United States and Canada, are taking part in the 12-day camp at the Queenstown Ice Arena.
Queenstown Ice Hockey Club president Andy Mills reckons the camp is beneficial for all those involved.
“It builds friendships for life. It’s great for our kids to play against North American kids - to learn about their culture, their ability and it certainly lifts our level of play.”
Boe says it isn’t a case of why the brothers come back each year - they never want to leave.
The Queenstown ice hockey community is passionate about building the game here, he says.
The camp focuses on skills development and coach mentoring.
Boe says core techniques like skating, passing and puck handling are sometimes overlooked in favour of team strengthening.
While there’s a high standard of play, the camp is about much more than the game.
“It’s not only a hockey experience but a cultural exchange,” Boe says. “It’s great for the kids and parents on both sides of the pond see what an amazing opportunity this is.”
Queenstown youngster Isaak Reid, 14, who plays defence, says it’s been lots of fun.
“I reckon my skill level has doubled since I started and I have also made some good friends.”
The camp finished yesterday.