Volunteer Coach Madison Wallace instructs First Shift students in proper arm movement while skating on Saturday, Dec. 16 at Hucul pond.-image credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer

New players take their first shift

Program provides gear and coaching for first-time hockey players.

The first glide across the ice with stick in hand can be a nerve-wracking experience for young hockey players. The First Shift program, underway for it’s second year in Salmon Arm makes trying out the game easy, fun and affordable.

“The whole idea is exposure to Hockey,” said Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Administrator Roy Sakaki as he watched the 2017 First Shift program’s third on-ice session on Dec. 16 at the Shaw Centre.

The First Shift program’s head instructor Gregg Patterson said the participants have massively improved their skating skills in just a few short lessons. He said lots of helpers were needed on the ice just to hold some of the kids up in the first session but during the third session most of the young players navigated skating drills with ease.

The 22 participants in the program showed growing confidence on their skates as they learned techniques for accelerating quickly on the ice and perfected their turns by skating through a pattern of cones.

The session ended with a fun game of soccer on ice to allow the rapidly-improving skaters to put what they’ve learned to the test.

Patterson said the upcoming on-ice sessions will feature more puck handling and shooting now that the participants have some good basic skating skills under their belts.

The program is unique because it includes head-to-toe hockey gear which the young players get to keep along with the six on-ice sessions coached by volunteers in the $199 registration fee. it is sponsored by Canadian Tire and hockey equipment provider Bauer.

First-time hockey parent Loretta Dedood said she is impressed with the program as she watched her son Grayson navigate a skating drill. She praised the good student to instructor ratio in the program.

“It’s his favourite thing already,” she said.

Jason Blackstock also praised the instruction his six-year-old son Levi is receiving in the program as well as the program schedule which with only one hour-long practice a week, is easier to fit around his older son’s more demanding PeeWee Tier 2 schedule.

“I like it better than initiation, because there’s fewer kids out there,” Blackstock said.

Liam Devos one of the players giving Hockey a try with the program says he has enjoyed the first three sessions.

“I like hockey. I think it’s fun learning to glide and stuff,” he said.

The most important goal of the first shift program is fun and the smiling faces coming off the ice after the Dec. 16 session, suggest it succeeded.


@SalmonArm
sports@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Salmon Arm inventor creates rooftop sprinklers to protect from wildfires

The Water Winger can be placed at the peak of a roof without climbing a ladder

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Sun makes way for rain clouds

Environment Canada is forecasting a mixed bag of conditions

CSRD Board backs more consultation on plans to help caribou

It is feared that the caribou recovery plans could result in closure of backcountry areas

Update: RCMP confirm body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

Maxime Bernier, leader of People’s Party of Canada, to rally support in Kelowna

The PPC has 36,000 member and plans to run candidates in all 338 ridings

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Elizabeth May’s wedding dress a ‘walk through a garden’ on Earth Day

Green Party leader set to get married in Victoria

Video: South Okanagan business owner distraught over thefts

Video shows two suspects enter the Penticton store

Bodies of 3 mountain climbers recovered after last week’s Banff avalanche

The men disappeared while attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak in the Icefields Parkway

Happy birthday: Queen Elizabeth II turns 93 on Easter Sunday

Sunday is the first of two birthday celebrations each year for the queen

Kelowna History: Street name origins

Have you ever wondered who the streets were named after?

RauDZ Creative Concepts Ltd. opens fifth kitchen

The Okanagan Table will offer space for events and catering

Pets still missing after Peachland home fire

Two Pomeranians and two cats are missing after fire

Most Read