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Carling O'keefe Makes Meeker's Clinic Possible

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      FEBRUARY 28 1975      v05 n03 p11  
Through the co-operation of the Carling O'keefe Sports Foundation, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians Sports and Recreation Department, were able to bring Howie Meeker for, a special four-day coaches clinic.

Chief David Ahenakew gave words of encouragement to the various coaches that were in attendance at the opening ceremonies. The coaches that were in attendance were from reserves, residential schools, urban centres and some from white communities.

The Carling O'keefe's Sports Foundation gave a grant of $15,000 towards the funding of the Howie Meeker's Coaches Clinic. The Carling O'keefe's Sports Foundation has been a great booster in the past two years in assisting numerous clinics in Saskatchewan. Just like Howie Meeker says, "From here on-drink Carling O'keefe's beer."

The hockey clinic was handled by ex-Toronto Maple Leaf and now a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television sportscaster. A lot of time you'll see him on Hockey Night in Canada. A small man with graying hair and dark rimmed glasses and- a high rasping voice, Meeker can point out mistakes by our professional hockey players of N.H.L. calibre. Anything that has to do with today's hockey, it's very hard to put anything over Howie Meeker.

Jack Donahue, a specialist in the line of basketball was also on hand at the coach's clinic.

Mr. Donahue returning from Cuba at the World Cup has been coach of the Canadian men's basketball national team for the past two years. His talents and know-how was well received by those who were in attendance.

Claude Petite, an ex-heavyweight boxer around the international scene from a few years back led the clinic on the finer points of boxing. Claude Petite who is originally from Duck Lake came back from Cuba himself attending as part of the coaching staff for the Canadian boxers at the World Cup.

Volleyball was handled by Murray Hill, who is presently attending the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. He is presently a member of the University of Saskatchewan team where he has several years of volleyball experience under top coaches.

The whole idea of a coach's clinic of this type was to upgrade the play of the Indian people on the reserve. The people who had attended the clinic were to grasp anything they can from these clinics. When they get home to their respective centres, they were suppose to hold clinics of their own and pass on what they have picked up.

The Carling O'keefe Sports Foundation Clinic was for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians. The clinic was geared towards upgrading the minor hockey system, highlighting Howie Meeker.

Howie Meeker said, "it was not until after my professional career, that I discovered the real guts of the game. Many kid's skates are junk. Why a hockey stick can be kid's biggest handicap; no youngster can be a good skater without learning balance."

Mr. Meeker spent eight years playing in the National Hockey League and several more coaching professional teams.

After the Canada-Russia series of 1972, Howie spent some time tracking down Russian training methods of children. Mr. Meeker's conclusion was that the Soviets minor hockey system is about 15 years ahead of our time. He said, "They had a basic hockey program miles ahead of us."

Mr. Meeker went on to say, "Canada invented hockey. In the first Canada-Russia encounter, we thought our pros were the best in the world. Canadians have learned from this hockey confrontation between two giants, that we're not going to be number one much longer. Already it was evident from the 1974 series."

Meeker has taken a pile of ideas and hammered them into one of the more enviable minor hockey systems in Canada. His hockey basics takes a boy only as far as skating, using the stick properly, and knowing what to do with the puck when he gets it.

In Newfoundland, Meeker heads up a minor hockey system, which is geared towards teaching kids about the basics of the game without sacrificing the fun.

Howie Meeker demonstrating the proper stick length
Howie Meeker demonstrating the proper stick length.
Howie Meeker giving lectures on the pros and cons of hockey
Howie Meeker giving lectures on pros and cons of hockey.
Chief Ahenakew opening the hockey clinic at Fort Qu'Appelle
Chief Ahenakew opening the hockey clinic at Fort Qu'appelle.