With gazes focused upward and eyes stuck in deadpan stares, approximately 20 boys and girls gathered around Mark Scheifele as he shared his NHL wisdom.

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With gazes focused upward and eyes stuck in deadpan stares, approximately 20 boys and girls gathered around Mark Scheifele as he shared his NHL wisdom.

A pane of Plexiglass isn’t separating them, nor did they pay $100 for a ticket to sit in the nosebleed section, watching from afar. No. This weekend they’re sharing the ice with their Winnipeg Jets heroes — goaltender Michael Hutchinson is here, too — at the inaugural 24/7 InTouch Mark Scheifele Hockey Camp in support of KidSport.

There was nine-year-old Ethan Simcoe, who couldn’t hold back his smile following his half-hour on-ice session with his heroes. After a particularly nice save form the diminutive netminder, Scheifele skated over and gave Simcoe a fist bump.

"It was pretty cool," said Simcoe, who also got a pat on the pads from Hutchinson.

"It gets exposure for the kids and they get to play with who they watch on TV, who they idolize," said Ethan’s father, Troy Simcoe.

Troy said his wife, Kerri, heard about the two-day camp while driving. Being a hockey mom, she immediately pulled over and called Ethan.

Mark Scheifele works with young hockey players on the ice.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Mark Scheifele works with young hockey players on the ice.

"This is his first goalie camp," Troy said. "And he’s going into the GDI (goaltending) program in August."

KidSport is a national charity with the simple goal of providing support to children to remove financial barriers preventing them from playing organized sports. The organization approached Scheifele at the tail end of 2014.

"He didn’t even hesitate for a second. He was willing to help do anything in whatever capacity to get kids into sports," said KidSport chairman Matt Erhard. "We asked him if he could bring another (Jet) and he was able to bring Hutch out.

"It’s great for us, with Mark being committed for the next couple of years. It allows us to generate a lot of fundraising money."

Kids got more comfortable as the session wore on, with some even trying to bodycheck Scheifele to the ice. Others, such as Tyler Polanski, looked on, waiting for his turn on the ice with his hero.

"I’m super-excited, Scheifele is my favourite player," Polanski said, sporting the No. 55 on the back of his Jets jersey.

Asked if he was going to pull out his best moves on Hutchinson, Polanski wasn’t sure. "Maybe, we will have to see," he said.

"This is awesome, and Scheifele has been Tyler’s favourite player since before he was on the Jets," said Tyler’s mom, Flannery Polanski. "It’s a dream come true. You don’t normally get the chance to be on the ice with your hockey hero, so if nothing else, it will be a great, lasting memory. You can’t beat it."

scott.billeck@freepress.mb.ca