Up North: Heritage Summer Hockey Classic begins with inaugural free youth camp

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The Ray Peterson Heritage Summer Hockey Classic returned to the Northland this week at the Essentia Duluth Heritage Center.

An event that brought together some of the Northlands best professional hockey players from across the area, ranging from the ECHL all the way to the NHL.

“Pretty fortunate to have a lot of guys from my age group that have moved on to play pros and obviously come back here and give back to the community. We all get to spend summers together which is nice so it’s pretty special,” said Winnipeg Jets forward Karson Kuhlman.

The festivities began early in the day as Boston Bruins defenseman Derek Forbort, Winnipeg Jets forward Karson Kuhlman held the first ever free Hockey Classic Youth Hockey Camp, for boy’s and girl’s 12 and under.

Giving back to a community that raised them to not only be the players they are today but also the people.

“We all kind of decided that it would be good idea to get out here a little early and get to know some of the kids and throw in some drills, then just have a little fun at the end. Cool to see how big hockey still is in Duluth, how much the kids here love it and to get on the ice with them is pretty special,” added Boston Bruins defender Derek Forbort.

The main attraction was the 4-on-4 game which pitted players like Neal Pionk, Ryan Fanti and countless others who once called the Northland home against each other, all for a great cause.

“It brings in a lot of kids and they all want to stay and watch us play the game, too. So, it’s all for a great cause and obviously Bell Bank has done a lot to help us set it all up. So, it’s a pretty cool event that we’re doing,” concluded Kuhlman.

All proceeds from the game went to the Ray Peterson Heritage Fund, which goes to financial backing of children who can’t afford to participate in organized sports.