Participants of this year’s ‘Train with the Canucks’ were up at the crack of dawn for their opportunity to skate with Vancouver Canuck players and coaches at GM Place this past Saturday. Save On Foods was the sponsor of the event which saw 40 minor hockey players from across the province participate.
The participants, aged 8-12 were chosen through contests by Save On Foods, BC Hockey and Canucks Centre and were invited to come down for the morning on-ice experience. Each received a bag filled with Canucks, Hockey Canada and Save On treats. The players were met by BC Hockey Course conductors who met them in the dressing rooms prior to their on ice session for introductions and a pre skate talk. The players then took to the ice at GM Place while their family cheered them on from the stands.
After being run through full ice warm ups the players were split into group stations to work on individual skills. Special guest Canuck players Darcy Hordichuk and Michael Grabner were on hand to meet the players and participate alongside them during the drills. Grabner, who recently had the cast removed off his foot, was eager to help teach the young participants who were very excited to learn from their Canuck Idols. Good thing for the young participants that fighting wasn’t a featured skill as Hordi decided to stick to toe drags and tight turns instead. Fin came out and seemed to be enjoying dekeing the young goalies as they did their best to save his creative offensive moves.
Canuck coaches Darryl Williams and Glen Carnegie were on hand to offer their help and expertise to the young participants. The session ended with a group photo and an autograph session with Hordichuk and Grabner. After their on ice session the participants were invited back into the stands to watch the Canucks game day skate. The optional skate featured thirteen players and two goalies that were very active throughout the practice. Kevin Bieksa showcased his stick handling abilities by flipping pucks up over the glass to the eagerly awaiting participants.
The participants were all smiles as they left the arena having just had an experience that will surely last a lifetime.Story by Leah Peden, Canucks Centre Student Associate