By ELWOOD K. SHELTON
Daily Press writer
Among the hoards of youth hockey players Dave Strang and his partner, John Seymoure, look like gliding giants.
Through sticks, pucks and youngsters they skate, leading the first hockey camp to come to the Craig Ice Arena the X-Factor Camp from Steamboat Springs.
The camp is the brainchild of Strang and Seymoure, who led team camps for years, before deciding to put it together as a business.
"John and I had been doing small clinics around Steamboat for years," Strang said. "We just decided one day that we'd take the show on the road and we started X-Factor."
The camp, which started Tuesday and runs until Friday, is mainly a warm up for the upcoming hockey season, Strang said. The primary goal of the camp instructors is to get children who have never skated comfortable on the ice, and the veterans loosened up and excited for the season.
The duo gets the youth hockey players ready for the season through an hours worth of drills and games all aimed at increasing the player's amount of skills, and familiarity with the ice.
"With the real young guys the biggest thing we want to do is get them skating, and comfortable with being out on the ice," Strang said. "We'll work a little puck handling with them, and some shot technique, but most of all we want them comfortable on the ice.
With our camp for older players, we'll get into more actual skills drills, since most are experienced skaters. It actually is more of a prep for when the season rolls around."
Pre-season camps are not the only area in which X-Factor dabbles. Strang and Seymoure also put on a number of specialty camps around the state, which are geared for specific positions in hockey.
They will also sponsor their first team camp next summer at the Howelsen Ice Arena.
The main reason why X-Factor is able to put on a pre-season camp is due to the Craig Youth Hockey Association and its president Randy Armstrong.
"We felt that we should put on a camp for all the kids who couldn't travel to make one this summer," Armstrong said. "We've got a pretty good turn out of kids involved in the novice and competitive leagues. I'd probably say that 85 to 90 percent of the Craig Youth Hockey Association is present at the camp. Those who didn't make it were the ones who traveled to camps all summer, and their parents just couldn't handle another one."
The 85-to-90 percent of youth hockey players Armstrong talks about translates to more than 45 participants in the camp.
The ability to bring a camp to Craig this year has solely depended on the ability to bring set ice early in the season, something else Armstrong and the youth hockey association also have a hand in.
"We talked with Steve Grandbouch, who runs the ice rink, about getting ice out early this year," Armstrong said. "We said if the ice was down we'd buy time on it for the camp. They did, and we did, too."