7/26/2017 11:53:00 AM / Steve Priolo
Instead of moving into an apartment while he plays in a summer league in Victoria, British Columbia, Bandits defenseman Steve Priolo decided to make a van his temporary residence and hit the road. Each week, he's blogging about his experiences for Bandits.com.
Playing lacrosse has always been a passion of mine and playing in the NLL is a childhood dream come true. This being said, I played every sport I could get my hands on growing up, with the big three being hockey, basketball, and, of course, lacrosse.
I played Jr. B hockey for the Fort Erie Meteors when I was 16. At this time, I needed to make a decision as to which sport I was going to play in the winter – hockey or basketball – and with my draft year in hockey come and gone, and because many universities were interested in me for my basketball ability, my decision was easy.
I went on to play for the Windsor Lancers, in hopes of playing pro in Europe somewhere. After a quick season with them, I played lacrosse that summer for St. Catharines Athletics and was drafted to the NLL by the Buffalo Bandits.
This made me take another left turn in life when I decided to transfer universities – from Windsor to Brock – so I could continue my education and play for the Bandits. With the thoughts of basketball overseas behind me, I knew this is where I needed to be.
I am explaining my background in sports because it has relevance to me working at the West Coast Hockey Prep Camp, where all the top coaches from BCHL, WHL, NCAA, and even player development coaches from the NHL come to recruit and coach. Of course, you are wondering how I ended up getting work there, and I'll be the first to admit sometimes I ride Jacqueline's coattails.
Jacqui is the head coach of Trinity College School back in Ontario, and she has been invited back to coach and scout three years in a row. I’ve been close behind, enjoying the experience with her.
The director of WC camp came to me and said that there is great importance in having well-rounded athletes. He thought I was the perfect example of that. So here I am, coaching hockey and fitness at WC’s prep camp with some of the greatest coaches around.
West Coat Prep camp is run out of a little town on the island named Port Alberni where they rent two ice surfaces, a gym that is turned into dorm rooms, and a community centre with a track and field, and another indoor gym. This is everything you could ask for in a camp.
Working a camp like this allows me to push myself as a coach, while refining the fundamentals of what it takes to be an athlete. The camp is a total of four weeks, with new kids each week.
I can't get enough of these kids. Jacqui and I have always had it in our minds that we will be running our own sports camp one day, and with places like WC prep camp, I can see that in the near future. We might even call it Coast to Coast Athletics.
With living in the van, I had a tough choice to make: Stay in the van where I'm loving every minute of it, or make the move to live with the rest of the coaches in the log cabin that is rented for our accommodation.
I made the best of both worlds and parked this van right out front so I was able to be there for all coaches meetings, enjoy the luxury of this beautiful place, and have the comfort of my own bed and house right outside.
Port Alberni seems to be a drive-by town on your way to Tofino, but if you get a chance to stop in, you will be amazed.
It has some of the best sockeye fishing on the island, as well as some great hikes. It is surrounded by mountains and water. Unfortunately, my favourite hike, Mt. Arrowsmith, is closed for the time being because of the lack of water and enduring fire hazard. But here is a pic from last year when Jacqui and I came out to visit.
From the top you and see to both sides of Vancouver island. Just amazing.
To see what's going on at the prep camp be sure to follow them on Instagram @prepcamp and check them out online at www.prepcamp.com. Catch me next week after I spend a couple days rock climbing at Squamish while I still have time before the playoffs pick up.