TGIF took on a whole new meaning on Friday, February 11th for a lucky group of minor hockey players – Thank Goodness it’s First Strides. Rogers Arena played host to 72 initiation and novice level boys and girls last Friday during the third Canucks First Strides program of the 2010.11 season.
The Canucks First Strides program, presented by Bayer Contour, aims to promote the personal and athletic development of young hockey players in British Columbia. On- and off-ice activities led by experienced BC Hockey course conductors place an emphasis on fair play and having fun.
The Canucks Centre for BC Hockey receives over 300 applications for each First Strides program offered throughout the season. Randomly selected participants from the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, and as far away as Hudson’s Hope and Castlegar made the trip to Rogers Arena last week to skate on the same ice as their Canuck heroes. Two such heroes were on hand to join in the festivities.
Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider and defenseman Aaron Rome were more than happy to skate alongside the 6 to 8-year olds during on-ice drills and games. The pair looked like big kids themselves, as Rome slid across the ice showing off his best Superman. Schneider stepped out from between the pipes to practice his skating, stick handling and shooting skills with his new minor hockey friends. Canucks mascot FIN made sure to get in on the action as well, racing eager First Striders down the ice and entertaining guests in the stands.
When they weren’t skating, boys and girls participated in off-ice activities in the Norm Jewison Media Room. Blindfolded kids could be seen making their way through obstacle courses, led by the enthusiastic cheers of their teammates. At another station, groups worked together to solve puzzles of their favourite Canuck players.
Parents also had an opportunity to participate in a workshop taught by BC Hockey Health and Safety Risk Manager, Anne Deitch. Deitch discussed the important role parents play in minor hockey and how they can positively support their growing hockey players.
The third First Strides program of the Canucks season was a huge success and enjoyed by all involved. Players and parents left Rogers Arena with new skills, friends, and memories. The Canucks Centre for BC Hockey and BC Hockey would like to thank Bayer Contour and the generous volunteers from the Lady Sharks hockey team for making the event possible.
For more information about Canucks First Strides and other programs offered by the Canucks Centre for BC Hockey, visit canucks.com/grassrootshockey or call 604-899-7770.
Check out the photo gallery here.