Submitted Mark Payne,

Columbia Valley Hockey School

The Columbia Valley Hockey School (CVHS) has recently wrapped up three weeks of hockey camps at the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena. After two years of COVID pandemic complications – there has been a re-surgency of motivation and energy to repositioning the Columbia Valley Hockey School to where it once was. 

 Former pro hockey player Brett Ponich should be proud of the skill development and buzz at this year’s camp as he made some challenging managerial decisions to bring back a premiere hockey program to the Columbia Valley.

 Brett recruited back one of the original founders and head instructors Christopher Bruton and brought on Tim Green. Both boast professional hockey career resumes. The two were a perfect combination of coaching experience and heartfelt enthusiasm to round out the ownership group. Brett Ponich was a former St. Louis Blues Draft pick with a sizeable professional hockey career as well. Both Tim and Chris were present as coaches for the three weeks of camps that ran this year for athletes age 5-17 .

 The first week focused on ‘total skills’ with an emphasis on power skating run by Chris Bruton. “We wanted to bring back an environment for the parents and kids to enjoy an amazing all-encompassing hockey program but also encouraged the amenities and recreation the area has to offer.” Bruton led the Spokane Chiefs to a Memorial Cup as their captain in 2008 and said it was like coming home having the opportunity to get involved with CVHS again.

 Assistant coach to the Junior Rockies team Tucker Braund supported on-ice session and Mark Payne a local valley resident also joined the staff this year and was an asset dealing with community partners and developing relations within the community. 

 The final two weeks of camp was led by skills coach Tim Green who currently coaches university hockey out of Camrose, Alberta.  We were very fortunate to bring in goalie coach Curtis Skip and power skating coach Ashley Grantham in the second week who both received rave reviews from parents and athletes.  Green added “All three weeks were very popular as we offered a variety of sessions to meet the player’s needs. The positive feedback has been encouraging and we are excited about the future.” 

 Skill development and the three-versus-three competition was a big highlight for players during the third week. The camp would not have been possible without the support of multiple local sponsors along with some great young instructors that led by example for all three weeks. Paddy Donahue, Sam Matheos and Caden William were staples in all 15 days of camp in the valley this summer.

 Future growth plans for the camp are in the planning stages which will eventually lead to more hockey camp additions and potentially extend to outdoor activities that could include,mountain biking, hiking and zip line experiences.

 Players were also treated to witnessing Stanley Cup champion Andrew Cogliano who was training at the arena for another upcoming season with Colorado Avalanche. He was seen tying skates as a true example of selfless leadership that reflects the champion he is on and off the ice .

 For more information on the Columbia Valley Hockey School visit