Stride Place has been home to many of the province's top young hockey players this weekend.
Team Manitoba's U16 Top 40 Prospect Camp is wrapping up in Portage today. The young men skated, trained, and competed in front of the U16 Team Manitoba coaches for the 2023 Canada Winter Games, which all these payers hope to qualify for.
The roster will be going from 40 players down to 25 by the time they head to Prince Edward Island in February. Goaltender Burke Hood of RINK Hockey Academy says representing his province would be a dream come true.
"It would mean a lot to me," says Hood. "I'm really excited for this program and I really hope I do make it. If I do, it'll be a blast."
As a goalie, Hood describes the benefit of training with nothing but extremely skilled players.
"I find there are quicker shots, and I have less time to react, which improves my reaction time," Hood explains. "It improves the way I play, how fast I move, and the way I get to pucks."
The Brandon, Manitoba product was very pleased with the facility that is Stride Place. He says the Portage arena had everything that they needed to be successful this weekend.
Hood notes one of the biggest things he'll be able to take away, regardless of whether or not he makes the team, is the knowledge passed along from the goalie coach.
"The goaltending coach is great here. I can ask him anything and he's easy to talk to," Hood continues. "If I'm not doing something right he'll catch me and tell me what I can do better."
U16 Team Manitoba will be taking part in the 2023 Canada Winter Games that take place from February 18 to March 5 in Prince Edward Island.