WIIKWEMKOONG—Wiikwemkoong’s own National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) athlete Kelly Babstock recently hosted her first ever all girls’ hockey school at her home community—something she’s excited to do again next year.
The hockey school was held between Thursday, August 23 and Friday, August 24 and had 47 girls from tykes to midget attend from across Manitoulin.
Ms. Babstock told The Expositor that full credit goes to Lawrence Enosee, manager of the Waasa Nabin Community Youth Centre, who managed to pull together the hockey school in just two weeks.
Ms. Babstock was part of the lineup of the community’s Fun Day held recently, on hand to sign autographs at the Youth Centre, when she and Councillor Enosse struck up a conversation about having just such a hockey camp. Two weeks later, it came to fruition.
“I’m from Wiky, so it’s a great thing to be able to have a camp like this here,” Ms. Babstock, a member of the Buffalo Beauts NWHL team, and one of the league’s premier snipers, said. “I like to help the youth stay engaged with sports and school.”
Ms. Babstock is a professional coach in the sports of hockey and lacrosse.
“This was my first hockey camp where I coached over 30 kids,” she added.
The girls got the chance to practice power skating, hone their stickhandling skills, work on their positions and play a few games too.
“I like helping kids with the right technique while building confidence and offering a good support system,” the Buffalo Beaut added.
Ms. Babstock was not alone in this, however. She also had the assistance of long-time friend Kalley Armstrong, granddaughter of the legendary George Armstrong of Toronto Maple Leafs fame. Ms. Armstrong played NCAA hockey for Harvard University and was the coach of the University of Western Ontario women’s hockey team from 2016-2017. Also lending a hand at the hockey school was Jenelle Manitowabi, who is ranked among the top high school hockey goalies in the United States.
“Jenelle is very enthusiastic,” Ms. Babstock laughed, “and made a lot of kids really happy. We saw a lot of great goaltenders out there.”
“We all share the same interests—helping kids and our people,” Ms. Babstock continued.
Next year, Ms. Babstock plans on extending the hockey school to a week-long affair.
“A big thank you to Lawrence Enosse at Wassa Nabin,” Ms. Babstock added.
Ms. Babstock starts her season with the Buffalo Beauts in October. She has been named an NWHL all-star twice since the league’s inception three years ago and is well-known for her power and drive.