My friend Jerry Chan in San Jose wrote me awhile back that he had worked at a hockey school in Montreal run by Jacques Lemaire and Yvan Cournoyer, in the 1970′s, and today he sent this:
“I won a Habs radio contest and attended for 1 week in 1973. I then worked there for 2 summers, 1977 and 1978. I still remember a 6 or 7 year old kid the first week I worked there. It was Jimmy Carson (main guy in Gretzky trade) from Michigan. Even at that age, he was much better than anyone else.
“These photos are from the 1974 brochure. I worked there in 1977 and 78 when Lemaire was no longer a partner.
“No player can get better attending a hockey school for a week or 2. There were guys that worked with me who were serious players and these guys would improve since they got ice time 3 hrs a day for 8 weeks. We had about 6 counselors for about 40 kids ( there were about 160 kids per week) and we would actually have quarrels not to go on the ice. It just got tiring to put on skates 3 times a day. If one didn’t go on, one slept in the dressing room. Cournoyer would show up regularly. There was a scrimmage the last day of camp in which the parents returned and Cournoyer would always be there.
“The NHL players seldom showed up, maybe 1 day the entire summer. The goalie teacher was Jim Corsi who was in college then. I believe he is still the goalie coach for the Sabres and played for Italy when they tied or beat Canada (Gretzky was playing) in some tournament. I believe Corsi was Canadian college player of the year one time and also represented Canada in soccer.
“About 1/3 of the attendees were American. There was occasionally a black kid and it was amazing the hatred toward the kid from American teenage city kids, especially the ones from Philadelphia. I never saw any problem between French and English kids and it opened up one’s eyes on racism in the U.S.”