August has barely arrived, but Rukavina Arena in Silver Bay has all the sounds of mid-winter with the hiss of skates on ice and the pop of pucks on boards.
The arena hosted the 36th annual Silver Bay Blue Line Club Summer Hockey School July 29 to Aug. 2 for kids at the mite level to high school players looking to fine tune their game before the upcoming season. The camp is one of the only times all summer ice is available at rinks on the North Shore and students from Two Harbors to Grand Marais and some even further away made their way to Silver Bay to take advantage of the opportunity to work on skills with college and high school players and coaches.
With Silver Bay Recreation Director and North Shore Storm boys coach Mike Guzzo retiring, the Blue Line Club president Shane Hoff and vice president Jared Conboy took over organizing the camp.
“It’s been one of our best camps,” Conboy said. “We’ve made some changes and we still have some things to work on, but it’s been a good week.”
Coaches and counselors at the camp include Minnesota Duluth players Nick Wolff and Sydney Brodt, as well as former North Shore players Brooke McMillan, Everly Bauck and Jessie Ketola.
Iron Range Goalie Academy coach Derek Peterson took over as the camp’s director from Peterson and said it was a good chance to get good practice time in when most arenas don’t have ice.
“It gives kids an opportunity in the summer to get their skates on and practice their hockey skills,” he said.
Unlike the Heritage Center in Duluth or Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet, none of the rinks on the North Shore have permanent ice throughout the summer. The crew in Silver Bay spent last week laying a fresh sheet of ice, but unlike winter ice, the cost to keep the arena cool enough to maintain the ice is approximately $7,000.
Despite the cost, the Blue Line Club and the city actually make money on the camp, which costs between $125 and $225 per person.