Rocky does his part

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:50 AM ET

For Rocky Thompson, it's a way of giving back to the community.

And for young hockey players in Hobbema, it's a chance to skate alongside their idols.

"We've run this hockey school in Fort Saskatchewan, Medicine Hat and the last two seasons we've brought it to Hobbema," Thompson said. "My grandpa lives in Hobbema and both my parents are aboriginal, so growing up, the native culture was pretty important in my life."

Thompson - the Edmonton Oil Kings new assistant coach - has been running his hockey schools for the last five years.

This year's edition in Hobbema features close to 50 players aged five to 17.

"When I became friends with Gerald Ermineskin who was the former Chief, we started talking about the possibly of bringing an aboriginal hockey school to Hobbema and some other reserves because there is a lot of talent there but a lot of these kids don't necessarily have the role models to look up to," Thompson said.

"You rarely get NHL players going out to reserves, he added. "All the four bands have come together and sent their kids to this hockey school, which has been absolutely wonderful."

Yesterday Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jason Chimera was out as an invited guest. Tomorrow, Georges Laraque will be out at the school.

"Rocky is really good with the kids," Ermineskin said. "Having these role models there helps these kids build some character and allows them to set some goals towards maybe going higher up in hockey."


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