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Canucks First Strides program kicks off

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

Canucks First Strides program kicks off at Gm Place with Sami Salo and Andrew Raycroft making guest appearances to the delight of 72 minor hockey players and their parents from across British Columbia.

General Motors Place was host on Monday to 72 BC minor hockey players from across British Columbia. The Canuck Centre’s First Strides Program, sponsored by Bayer Contour and in partnership with BC Hockey kicked off its first event of the year to much success. Five to eight year old future hockey stars were able to showcase and improve their skills on the NHL size rink as they received instruction from local minor hockey coaches and BC Hockey course conductors. To the delight of the participants, the Vancouver Canucks own Sami Salo and Andrew Raycroft were the special guests of the evening. Salo and Raycroft took part in drills with the participants and joined the teams for a scrimmage at the end of the ice time. Raycroft lent his expertise to the young goalies that spent the full event doing on-ice workshops.

A program high of 24 eager girls were amongst the participants, who all had no troubles keeping up with the energetic boys in their groups. It was evident that Fin had been working on his stick handling and shooting as he looked to trade in his drum in favor of being the next Canuck call up. His chances seemed to disappear when he got a little too rough with future teammate Salo during an on-ice drill.

BC Hockey Safety and Risk Management Coordinator Anne Deitch provided a parent seminar which ran alongside the kids off-ice workshops. Parents were able to get a perspective on their role in their child’s hockey involvement, and how they can provide positive support and feedback for them. Along with the on-ice workshops, kids also received an off-ice workshop which included a motivational video that featured key points of sportsmanship, fair and safe play.

Bayer Contour generously sponsored 10 initiation/novice players from around BC who are affected by Juvenile Diabetes. Canucks Centre would like to thank BC Hockey Course Conductors and local minor hockey coaches who came out and volunteered their time and hockey expertise with the on and off-ice workshops. Without their support the event wouldn’t have been possible.

This season’s First Strides was a huge success and we look forward to a second event to be held at GM Place on January 22, 2009.

For more information on these and other programs visit the Canucks Centre’s website.

Click here to view the photo gallery

Story by Leah Peden, Canucks Centre Student Associate

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