The World Cup of Hockey Community Caravan brought its Try Hockey Program to the Ross Drive Public School in Brampton, Ontario for students in Grades 2-5 on Monday.
Hockey Canada, with support from the NHL and National Hockey League Players' Association through the World Cup of Hockey 2016 Legacy Project, introduced 358 students (179 girls, 179 boys) to the sport, with the majority of them holding a hockey stick for the first time. The program focused on the fundamental skills of stickhandling, passing and shooting, and gifted the school with two sets of floorball equipment and a 10-week lesson plan.
"It was amazing to see the progression made by all students in such a short period of time, from holding the stick incorrectly at the beginning to being able to control and aim a shot by the end of our session," Hockey Canada manager Ryan Hurley said. "This program is a fantastic introduction to hockey in an environment that is comfortable and familiar to the students. By entering a setting that is comfortable to the students, we can ensure that their first introduction to hockey is an energetic, positive and memorable experience that will last a lifetime."
The World Cup of Hockey 2016 Legacy Project supports recent immigrants, refugees and other new Canadians, using hockey to adapt into their new communities across the Greater Toronto Area. The Caravan will bring "Learn-to-Skate" and "Learn-to-Play" programs to locations including schools, community centers and community events, where ice hockey, ball hockey and floorball will be introduced.
The Caravan also stopped at Shaw Public School in Brampton on Tuesday and is scheduled to appear at Brampton Memorial Arena for the Try Hockey Family Event on Feb. 26.
"The World Cup was a great tournament on the ice, but an important part of conducting the tournament was to make sure that the League and the NHLPA made a lasting impact off the ice as well, and we are seeing that come to life with the Community Caravan," NHLPA spokesperson Jonathan Weatherdon said. "It is really positive that so many people are being exposed to the game of hockey via our World Cup legacy projects that typically wouldn't have access to this great sport."