Hockey Camp in Nisswa Attracts Kids from Across the World
“I mean, we’ve had probably 700 NHLers come through here now,” Dean Grillo, Co-Owner of Minnesota Hockey Camps, said.
And it’s no surprise why. When you drive up to the Minnesota Hockey Camps, jerseys of former campers line the walls, inspiring young players as they improve their skills.
“When they wake up at 8:00 a.m., and they go to bed at 9:15, 10:00 p.m., it’s hockey from the time they wake up, and it’s hockey until the time they go to bed,” Scott Zygulski, the Squirts Coach, said.
Minnesota Hockey Camps offers one week camps jam packed with 32 hockey activities, and it has been producing professional hockey players since 1980.
“I’m a little surprised the camp is still here, to be honest with you,” Chuck “Gringo” Grillo, the Camp’s Co-Founder, said. “We thought it would be about a 20-year run, and it actually got better.”
The growth has been unprecedented with the camp now getting national notoriety. Despite its name being Minnesota Hockey Camps, it attracts players from all over the world, and this year, they have a ten-year-old from Norway.
Minnesota Hockey camps is based off a world class hockey camp in Finland, and in Nisswa, they work on everything from strength training to puck handling and everything in between.
“I got to be honest, I don’t know if there’s anywhere in the world I’ve seen it duplicated,” Dean Grillo said. “The synergy, the work ethic, I think it’s the top program in the world.”
“I think being in this captive environment where we are, I don’t think there’s anything like it anywhere else,” Zygulski said. “I heard Mr. Grillo talk about culture, and I don’t think you can repeat what this place has anywhere else.”
The campers eat, sleep, and breathe hockey when they are at camp, but the lessons they learn can be taken with them for their entire life.
“I don’t care what it is that makes you productive,” Chuck Grillo said. “If this place causes you to be productive, then we’ve done our jobs.”
Who knows – maybe the next NHL star is practicing right now in Nisswa.