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Stick ‘‘guru’’ visits Docklands

Alison Kinkade

Ice hockey’s world number one stick-handler and skills coach, American Sean Skinner, was in Docklands for a week in October to teach 25 Aussie kids a few tricks of the trade.

The kids, who ranged in age from 12-17, came from across Australia to train with the hockey-great at The Medibank Icehouse.

The founder of Australia’s Puck Shooters Ice Hockey School and ArmourSmith Skating Superstore, Rodger Smith, brought Mr Skinner to Docklands for the one-week intensive hockey camp.

“Sean’s the best there is in the world so it’s a great opportunity for these kids to be able to get some training from the best of the best,” Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith said he had been organising to get Mr Skinner over to Australia for the past three years and was very happy that it had been a great success.

“Sean’s been great and the kids have really loved it. We’re already planning to get him back next year in June or July and may even do an Australian tour with him, rather than just the week in Melbourne.”

Known worldwide as the “Stick-Handling Guru”, Mr Skinner has been training hockey players for more than 20 years after turning down a scholarship to play college hockey.

“I had the college scholarship, but decided to turn it down as I am Jewish and we can’t work on Saturday, which is also why I can’t coach teams,” Mr Skinner said.

Still determined to live out his passion for hockey, Mr Skinner started his stick-handling and skills coaching business, Skinner Hockey, and has been in demand and travelling the world ever since.

“I’ve travelled to about 50 countries and have worked for the National Hockey League, Hockey Canada, the top Russian hockey clubs and many other top clubs in the world training them in tricks and skills and also doing pre-season training,” Mr Skinner said.

Mr Skinner also has a range of educational DVDs, which have been purchased and translated by a number of the top leagues around the world as well as individuals.

It was Mr Skinner’s first trip to Australia and he said he thought it was a beautiful country and was looking forward to travelling to Cairns on his way home and seeing the Great Barrier Reef.

“Australia’s really beautiful and is unlike any other country. I spent some time in Sydney before coming to Melbourne and climbed the harbour bridge, but my favourite thing has been the opera house,” he said.

Not only was he impressed by Australia’s beauty, Mr Skinner was also very impressed by the Icehouse and Docklands’ hospitality.

“The rink is fantastic. It would be on par with any ice rink in the US and Canada and Quest Docklands have also been really accommodating giving us conference rooms free of charge to show the DVDs,” Mr Skinners said.

Mr Skinner is certainly looking forward to returning to Australia next year.

For more information on Skinner Hockey, visit http://www.skinnerhockey.com

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