By Pat Payton
Head instructor Luke Puiras says Stonetown Hockey Academy helps prepare youngsters for the hockey season.
Identical twin brothers Luke and Kyle Puiras, of Toronto, have run week-long camps for minor hockey players the past two summers in St. Marys. And their intent is to continue running the camps in August each year at the PRC.
“The idea behind this camp is, with tryouts coming up, this camp is designed to get the kids back into shape and get them back being active,” Luke Puiras explained in an interview last month. “The idea is to get them back on the ice, and do some off-ice training as well as to get them better prepared for the upcoming hockey season.”
About 25 youngsters attended this year’s summer camp in St. Marys, ranging in age from 6 to 13. Each day, after a good stretching warm-up, there is one hour of power skating, followed by two hours of off-ice training (including push-ups and sit-ups). After lunch, the players go back on the ice for two hours where shooting, stick-handling and puck control are part of the skills training.
“I’ve tried to build up a steady client base, and so far the response has been positive,” Puiras said. “I’m looking to build and expand in the next year or so.”
Kyle Puiras, also a head instructor, runs the Toronto operations of their business.
“He invited me to help him out for a week,” Luke Puiras recalled. “I taught a kid how to do his first-ever cross-over, and that’s when I fell in love with the teaching aspect of hockey.”
The Puiras brothers would like to further expand their hockey business into the Stratford and Huron-Perth areas. “I want to get to know the players and area first before we really grow and expand within the community,” Luke said.
Puiras said he hopes the PRC will keep the ice in all summer next year. “I’m in the process of talking to the town to see if we can keep the ice over the summer,” he told the newspaper in August. “There’s a lot of great instructors here in town who love to use the ice.”
Luke Puiras has been a hockey skills instructor for almost 10 years, and has been coaching in the GTHL for five seasons now. Luke and Kyle are Toronto natives.
As a player, Luke played ‘AAA’ hockey in Toronto as a youngster. He was a member of the Toronto Red Wings for five seasons, then went on to play in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) with Toronto Jr. Canadiens and Pickering Panthers.
“I never want money to be a reason why a player can’t train with me,” Luke said. “My fee is half of what I charge in Toronto, just to make it available for everyone. What I offer is the one-on-one training. I formulate a training program that will help them throughout the year.
“I watch all my students play, and I noticed that 92 per cent of my students moved up a level, and that’s just in the St. Marys area.”
Puiras says he may also hold Christmas Break and March Break camps this coming season.
For more information on the Stonetown Hockey Academy, contact Luke Puiras at 647-527-2773 or at: email@example.com.