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Future Canucks take First Strides at Rogers Arena

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

Rogers Arena played host to 72 initiation and novice level boys and girls during the third Canucks First Strides program of the 2011.12 season.

The Canucks First Strides program, 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 a number of 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 100 Mile House made the trip to Rogers Arena on February 16th to skate on the same ice as their Canuck heroes. Two such heroes were on hand to join in the festivities.

Vancouver Canucks Byron Bitz and Dale “Frankenstein” Weise were more than happy to skate alongside the 6 to 8-year olds during on-ice drills and games. The pair blended right in with the minor hockey kids and coaches , sometimes showing off their abilities.

Dale and Byron took time to help with helmets, skates and any other equipment repairs that were needed that evening. 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 by performing his favorite glass smash move, always a hit.

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. This has been a great addition to the First Strides program that helps encourage fair play and team work not only amongst the participants but with the parents as well.

The Canucks First Strides program has grown to be a success enjoyed by all involved. Players and parents left Rogers Arena with new skills, friends, and fond memories. The Canucks Centre for BC Hockey would like to thank BC Hockey and the Lady Sharks hockey team for providing the support and the generous time and effort to help make this event possible.

For more information about Canucks First Strides and other programs offered by the Canucks Centre for BC Hockey, visit or call 604-899-7770.

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