It was a great day of hockey yesterday for 45 students from the far north communities of Black Lake, Wollaston Lake and Fond du Lac.

The students were flown into Saskatoon for Northern All-Stars Day which included an on-ice hockey camp with former NHLer Rich Pilon, followed by tickets to Memorial Cup action in the evening when the Blades took on the Portland Winterhawks.

Pilon says the idea behind the day is for the students to learn some hockey skills while having fun at the same time.

“I can’t imagine being any of these kids right now and being able to hang out with an NHL player,” he says. “Whether it be myself – you know I played 15 years in the NHL – but just to hang out with an NHL guy is pretty cool.”

Steven Thatcher, principal at Father Porte Memorial Dene School in Black Lake, adds the school used the trip as a reward for students who have been working hard and improving throughout the year.

“Most times you select students, you always go for the best ones but this time we went for students who had good attendance, good marks, but also the students who are improving in the year and some are average students who never seem to get to go anywhere,” he says. “We thought we’d bring them down and let them experience a day trip to Saskatoon.”

The day was made possible through a co-sponsorship between Areva, Cameco, SaskPower and West Wind Aviation.