The Gretzky Hockey School is teaching young hockey players the basics in Simi Valley this week.
"About two years ago, my dad thought of a great idea to do a hockey school, call it the Gretzky Hockey School, and do it where we live in the summer in Idaho," founder Ty Gretzky said.
From the first camp last summer in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the school has expanded and sold out in six different locations.
Gretzky said his father, Wayne Gretzky, had faith in his ability to successfully start and run the school.
"Now we’re here with 120 kids in Iceoplex in Simi Valley," Gretzky said.
The sold-out camp is running from Monday to Friday. Wayne Gretzky will come to the school one day this week to meet the kids and show his support.
Other NHL pros have visited the school, including Tyler Johnson, Russ Courtnall and Barret Jackman.
Quentin Wunder, who was brought in to assist with coaching this week said, "With a great name like Gretzky, who wouldn’t want to come in and help out?"
"They have some of the best coaching staff in the nation out here," Wunder added. "They have pro players out here, they have semi-pro players, obviously college players, junior guys, they have all types of levels so the kids really see what it takes to take the next step to each level."
The camp also speaks to growth of youth hockey in Southern California.
"I’ve been all over the nation playing and I think the biggest difference is that we have ice year-round," Wunder said, "We’re here mid-June and guys are skating around, the same can’t be said about the rest of the nation."
The Gretzky Hockey School focuses on developing kids’ fundamental skills, which is why coaches take the time to talk to each camper and make sure the basics are done right.
Brianna Marks is on one of Iceoplex’s hockey teams called the Mega-Mites, and is one of this week’s campers. While skating is one of her favorites, she said, "I’m still working on puck handling because the puck keeps sliding away from me."
"I just want to have the best hockey school," Ty Gretzky said. "The best name Gretzky, and the best player ever, I want the best hockey school and bring that to the kids. The whole event in itself with the pros coming and the experience for the kids, just make the best. That’s my goal for this."