York, P.A. (WHTM) — “Winners train winners and if you want to do well you have to be trained by a winner like Bob,” camper Lucas Soto said.
And there’s no denying Bob Hartley is a winner.
The former Hershey Bears coach captured a Calder Cup in 1997, then reached the mountain top four years later at the game’s highest level, raising the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001.
Now coaching in the KHL, Hartley still gives back to the Midstate, hosting the 26th Annual Bob Hartley High Intensity Camp in York this week.
“Everywhere I’ve been I love working with kids because I was a kid many years ago and many great people helped me so it’s my way to say thank you to this great game,” Hartley said.
Hartley’s contributions go far beyond his lessons on the ice, especially for D.C. area native Soto.
“Hockey saved my life, that’s the biggest story,” Soto said. “If it wasn’t for hockey I wouldn’t be here right now, so I’ve got to give back to the game what it gave back to me.”
After Soto’s second summer coming to Hartley’s camp, he was diagnosed with leukemia. His physical fitness as a hockey player gave him a better response to treatments, allowing Soto to win his battle and get back on the ice.
“It really took a physical and mental toll on me, and just being able to get back on the ice here at camp with my friends and I consider them my family almost, and with the amazing coaches out here it’s amazing to be out here,” Soto said.
“To see Lucas back on his feet with a smile and being such a great young mature man, it’s a huge victory for all of us,” Hartley said.