Boys and girls ages 7 through 17 interested in beefing up their hockey skills and boosting their spiritual lives at the same time are encouraged to register for the Catholic Hockey Camp, coming to the Nelson Center in Springfield June 17-19.
Players will learn hockey skills, techniques, strategy and receive leadership development from several experts in the sport, including Christopher and Richard Gomez, brothers who played on the University of Illinois Illini club hockey team and Tim Healy, who played college hockey at St. Norbert College. Off-ice activities include daily Mass, faith and motivational talks, eucharistic adoration, opportunities for confession, and daily rosary walks.
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, a.k.a. the Holy Goalie, will also participate, teaching goalie skills and leading the spiritual components of the camp. He says the Catholic Hockey Camp is a transformational experience for players both on and off the ice.
“Every player who leaves our camp develops more skills and knowledge on how to improve their performance on the ice,” Bishop Paprocki said. “More importantly, they’ll leave better prepared to take on the spiritual and cultural battles they face on a daily basis.”
“With the rise of outlets for sin — smart phone additions, video games, pornography, opioids — the need for a Savior is at an all-time high for everyone in America, but especially children,” Christopher Gomez said. “Our Catholic sports camps provide an opportunity for youth to encounter our Lord who is the Prince of Peace while also improving their hockey skills along the way.”
Much of the off-ice faith formation activities will follow the themes of Bishop Paprocki’s book, Holy Goals for Body and Soul: Eight Steps to Connect Sports with God and Faith.
The four-day camp is $150 (any additional family member registrant attends for $100). Each camp day runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes lunch and snacks. The Nelson Center is located at 1601 N. 5th St. in Springfield. To register and for more information, go to catholicsportscamps.org. The deadline to sign up is June 16.