January 3, 2013 - ECHL (ECHL) - Elmira Jackals
ELMIRA, N.Y. - January 3, 2013 - Today the Elmira Jackals, alongside the Dave Clark Foundation, hosted the inaugural D3 Hockey Camp at First Arena. Twenty-seven participants came out for an exciting day of learning hockey with the pros!
"Dave Clark is a truly inspiring athlete who overcame immense odds to achieve his dreams. Now he is providing the same opportunities to similar children through his D3 Camps. All of that, along with the fact that he is originally from Corning, made this day a perfect fit for us," said Jackals general manager Matt Hufnagel.
Dave Clark addresses the campers before lunch.
Dave Clark is a Corning, New York native who contracted polio as an infant but overcame the disease in 1952. While his battle left him without full use of his legs, Clark went on to participate in Little League baseball playing pitcher and first base. Over the years he became such an accomplished player that he earned a professional contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a knuckleball pitcher. While Clark never ascended to the major leagues as a player he did play professionally in the minor leagues in the United States and in Sweden.
After his playing career ended, Clark worked as an instructor with the United States Olympic Baseball Team at the Summer Games in Atlanta in 1996 and eventually made it to the Major Leagues as a pitching instructor with the Atlanta Braves in 1999. But now his full focus is on running the Dave Clark Foundation which brings programs like the D3 Hockey Camp to children. D3 got its start as a baseball camp and was runner up in 2012 for the Minor League Baseball Promotion of the Year Award.
Captain Jean Bourbeau instructs a camper.
The Jackals had the honor of hosting the inaugural D3 Hockey Camp where the participants from around the Southern Tier spent the afternoon with the Jackals. After opening remarks from Dave Clark, the Jackals players and campers enjoyed lunch at the First Arena restaurant so that they could build their energy for a busy rest of the afternoon.
After lunch ended the campers and players went down to the arena concourse for crash course in hockey at four different stations. They learned all about stick handling, passing, shooting, and goaltending. After the stations were finished, each camper attempted a shootout-style breakaway with Artem Demkov defending the goal. Demkov won't be changing his position to goalie anytime soon because every camper scored and got to celebrate with the entire team! The day ended with a group photograph and the campers being presented with their certificates of achievement.
On Friday, January 4 the D3 campers will cheer the Jackals on when they face off against the rival Reading Royals. Prior to the game the Jackals will honor Dave Clark and his accomplishments by having him drop the ceremonial first puck.
Good seats are still available for the game so we hope that you will come out and help us celebrate an inspiring athlete and hometown hero, as well as all of the D3 campers who made today such a rousing success.
We can't wait for the next D3 Hockey Camp with the Dave Clark Foundation!