It was a Saturday morning in October, which means most Canadian hockey parents were (where else?) at the rink. So that’s where Tom Renney made sure he was, too.
Hockey Canada’s president and chief executive officer stopped into Joseph Kryczka Arena at the Southland Leisure Centre in Calgary early on Oct. 25 to visit with parents and players taking part in The First Shift, a Bauer and Hockey Canada program designed to introduce young families to Canada’s game.
“It was a thrill for me to get down to the rink on a Saturday morning, see the smiles on the faces of the young players, and get to chat with the parents who are benefitting from this fantastic program,” said Renney.
The six-week program kicked off Saturday for the 45 young players involved, who got their equipment – and a lesson in how to put it on – at a welcome event earlier in the week at the Hockey Canada head office.
They’ll be on the ice for five more Saturdays, getting instruction in the basic skills of the game from volunteers with Hockey Calgary, which is hosting the program.
The local minor hockey association will actually be running the program twice this season, giving 90 kids in all the chance to lace up their skates (or have their parents do it for them) and step on the ice.
The Calgary programs are two of 28 across the country taking part in The First Shift this fall, with more to be launched in the new year from coast to coast.
The program is open to young Canadians ages 6-10 that have never played hockey, with the $199 cost including equipment and enrollment.
To see where The First Shift is taking place in 2014, CLICK HERE.