(Edmonton, AB) - Lil' Oilers, a Learn to Play initiative, developed in collaboration with the National Hockey League (NHL) and National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), returns for a second season after making its debut last year. Lil' Oilers is designed to introduce youth (boys and girls) aged five to six (2011 and 2012 birth dates) to the great game of hockey.
Lil' Oilers programming will return in February 2018 at the Downtown Community Arena adjacent to Rogers Place. The youth hockey program continues the Oilers long tradition of support for grassroots hockey and expands their involvement in youth and amateur hockey in Edmonton.
"Lil' Oilers is a great partnership between the NHL and NHLPA - leaders in our great game - and we are proud to share this hockey programming with youth and their families to introduce them to the game of hockey alongside our Oilers Alumni," said Oilers Entertainment Group CEO and Vice Chair Bob Nicholson. "The Oilers are proud supporters of youth and amateur hockey in Edmonton and the second season will once again foster a strong learning environment for the future of hockey."
Leading Lil' Oilers once again will be returning instructors from its debut season including, Oilers Alumni Jason Strudwick (Oilers Defenceman, 2008 to 2011), Fernando Pisani (Oilers Forward, 2002 to 2010) and Jeff Deslauriers (Oilers Goaltender, 2008 to 2010). Additional on-ice instruction will be provided by certified hockey experts from both Hockey Alberta and Hockey Edmonton.
"Last season, our Lil' Oilers participants were rock stars. The kids made huge strides last year and it's great to see them continue to play this year. All of our Lil' Oilers instructors truly enjoyed helping the groups learn to skate, shoot, pass and even stop. As an Oilers Alumni, it's always a huge honour to serve this great community. Our Lil' Oilers team is really looking forward to another great year with the kids," said Oilers Alumni and Lil' Oilers Lead Instructor Jason Strudwick.
Lil' Oilers helps break common entry barriers into the minor hockey system by providing all participants with new complimentary CCM hockey equipment (helmet, shoulder pads, skates, elbow pads, gloves, pants, shin pads, jersey, socks and an equipment bag), and world-class on-ice instruction from Oilers Alumni and local hockey experts with seven on-ice sessions at the Downtown Community Arena attached to Rogers Place.
"Lil' Oilers is a terrific Learn to Play program that enables children and their families to experience all that hockey has to offer, building on-ice skills as well as important character and leadership attributes that can be applied to all areas of life," said NHL Vice President, Learn to Play Initiative and Industry Growth Fund Rob Knesaurek. "The NHL is proud to be part of this impressive initiative, as it continues to support and elevate the game of hockey at the grassroots level in Edmonton, and connect new participants and future fans to our great sport. Lil' Oilers also brings to life hockey's Declaration of Principles, demonstrating how hockey is a fun game that also teaches life lessons including sportsmanship, respect and inclusiveness."
"The Players are very proud of the Learn To Play program which is establishing the gold standard in youth sports, and we are excited about the Lil' Oilers program as it drops the puck on its' second season," said NHLPA Special Assistant to the Executive Director Mathieu Schneider. "The League-wide Learn To Play initiative is made possible by the Industry Growth Fund, an important addition to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement."
Lil' Oilers Eligibility
There are three critical elements that must be met by all applicants to be considered eligible for the Lil' Oilers program:
- Age: Birthdate must fall between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012.
- Minor Hockey Background: No previous participation within any Hockey Canada sanctioned programming.
- Deposit: $100. Upon program completion, this $100 will be credited towards enrollment in the Edmonton and surrounding community minor hockey program for the 2018-19 season.
Lil' Oilers participants will be selected via lottery following the application process. Applications will be accepted starting today, Wednesday, November 1 until Friday, December 1, 2017 at 5:00 PM MT. Please note, only one application will be accepted per child.
For more information or to apply, visit EdmontonOilers.com or click here.
Edmonton Oilers hockey is presented by Rogers, Molson Canadian, Scotiabank, Ford and the Rexall Family of Pharmacies.