Four years ago, when now former NHL defenseman Keith Yandle had downtime during the offseason, he began visiting Nantucket with his wife and their two kids. They loved the island so much that last summer they bought a home, and Yandle said moving forward they will be spending every summer on the island.
Moving to Nantucket was one of the first moves Yandle made in his post-playing career, and now moving forward he is actively searching for ways to stay involved in the game he loves after officially retiring from hockey in September of 2022. He worked as a guest NHL analyst for TNTs hockey coverage during the NHL season and in the offseason he has decided to run a hockey camp with his brother Brian based on Nantucket from Monday, July 17 through Friday, July 21. He said he is excited for the opportunity to help island kids develop their games.
“When you retire you think about all the people who have helped you along the way from when you were a young kid to when you are playing in the NHL," Yandle said. "I think of a lot of coaches and camps I went to and just the impact people had on me, and I hope I can do that for some of these kids out here on the island and show my love for the game to them.”
Yandle, who is a native of Milton, MA, played in 1,109 games in his NHL career as a defenseman, making three all-star teams. He had 619 points in those games (103 goals and 516 assists). He broke the NHL record for most consecutive regular season games played in January of 2022 when he played his 965th straight game. To this day he ranks second all-time with 989 consecutive games.
Yandle’s career statistics and accolades reflect a strong blend of skill, durability, and hockey IQ, and he said he hopes to be able to share some of that knowledge with his campers.
“We are going to be working on and doing a bunch of different things,” Yandle said. “I think the good thing for me is I played in the NHL in a couple different eras. When I started it was a big, heavy game – holding onto pucks down low, things like that. But now the game is so skilled and fast and using your speed and your skill is such a huge part of the game. I think being able to help kids out where they have multiple ways to beat a defender, think about a play and know where to be – all of that is beneficial.”
“I want to be able to give my knowledge to these kids and so does my brother. Having fun is the biggest thing. My brother and I have been talking about it how we just want these kids to be excited to come to the rink. We want them to be excited to come back, to work and do it with a smile on their face.”
Brian Yandle has also had a successful career in the world of hockey. He is a former AHL and ECHL player and before that, was a two-time All American at the University of New Hampshire.
In his post playing days, he has served as the hockey director of the Atlanta Fire and Boston Jr. Terriers. Brian remains a head coach in the Boston Jr. Terriers program and has been involved in running camps and clinics for over 15 years, something his brother Keith believes he can learn from as he transitions from player to coach/instructor.
“We have never been able to do anything together because our schedules have always been so different so just being able to have the chance to do something with him – he is such a smart hockey mind and is great teaching the kids,” Keith said. “He has been doing it for a long time. Learning from him as well should be a lot of fun.”
There will be two sessions during a 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. time period Monday through Friday, and jerseys will be provided to each player who signs up.
The first session will be kids ages 7-13. These players will spend morning sessions on the ice before moving to off-ice instruction. You can sign up for these sessions by clicking here.
The second session will be players ages 14-18 and the older players will begin their daily sessions with off-ice instruction before moving to on-ice instruction. You can sign up for these sessions by clicking here.
You can learn more about the Yandles and their camp here. Keith added that there will be some availability for drop-ins as well who would like to participate last minute.