Golden Bears’ prep school hockey camp combines puck, school
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Back on March 25, the California Golden Bears held a prep school hockey camp at their home rink in Burbank.
Plans had been put into place last summer to provide graduating Bears players with exposure to East Coast prep schools as an alternative to AAA hockey.
Bears director of hockey and Bantam coach Peter Torsson is a native Swede who saw the benefits immediately.
“The United States is very unique in the world in that it provides young athletes with the opportunity to combine outstanding academics with the pursuit of high-end hockey,” he said.
This past fall, Torsson took both his Bantam teams to a prep school showcase outside of Boston. The Bears’ success on the ice drew the attention of several coaches and relationships were formed.
For the Bears prep school camp, nine East Coast schools flew coaches out to participate: Groton School, Deerfield Academy, Tilton School, Vermont Academy, Kent School, Governor’s Academy, Kimball Union Academy, Milton Academy and Holderness School.
The Bears’ camp attracted 80 tier-level players from all over California. Teams were divided into two divisions by birth year – 2000-2001 and 2002-2003. Both divisions had morning and afternoon scrimmages to showcase their talents. Off the ice, there was a panel discussion where coaches explained the benefits of a prep school education and the exposure that East Coast hockey provides for players.
With the resounding success of the camp, Torsson plans on making it an annual event.
“No matter how far hockey takes you, a great education is always invaluable,” said Torsson.
Year 1 of the Bears’ prep school efforts has paid off as three players from the 2017 Bantam AA state championship team have been offered enrollment next fall into Groton, Holderness and Tilton.
— Sophie Kaplan