|Young hockey players take instruction at the outdoor clinic (photo by Dylan Lynch / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
As Rexall Place welcomes thousands of fans this afternoon for the Oilers vs. Senators game, the Edmonton Oilers started their Hockey Day in Canada festivities earlier this morning hosting an outdoor clinic for local minor hockey players. View Photo Gallery
Thirty atom-aged girls and boys from grassroots teams across the city took to the newly created outdoor rinks at the University of Alberta; rinks that were originally built over the football field for the University’s Hockey Day in Canada pond hockey tournament. Along with the opportunity to play outside and having expert coaches on hand, the players also received their very own Oilers jerseys, taking only seconds to disappear from the box and onto their bodies.
“My daughter was so excited when she found out the Oilers were bringing them out here for Hockey Day in Canada to do some drills and practice on the outdoor ice,” said parent Corinne Drever. “I think it’s amazing that they get a chance to come out here and get this expert advice, I mean they’ve got fantastic coaches but it doesn’t get much better than this.”
Each year the CBC selects a theme for Hockey Day in Canada, and in keeping with this year’s theme of “Trailblazers”, the clinic focused around developing solid foundation skills that are common amongst all of hockey’s greatest trailblazers.
Oilers Community and Grassroots Hockey Staff, along with local minor hockey coaches, focused on passing, puck control and skating with the eager players.
“We worked on a lot of skill development today,” said Trevor Murphy, Oilers manager Community & Consumer Partnerships. “We did a lot of skating, a lot of puck control, some shooting and some passing.
The skill level was very good amongst these atom-aged players and there’s no doubt they’ll be considered trailblazers as they continue to improve in their leagues.”
As the sun began to peak over the Butterdome and the clinic wound down, participants took a moment for a few photos and some “Go Oilers Go” cheers, commemorating their special Hockey Day in Canada experience, and ended the event with a few games of scrimmage.
“It’s pretty fun, just knowing that we’re part of this special day. I’m excited to go home now and hang out with my dad to watch the Oilers play,” concluded participant Justin Clark.