(Edmonton, AB) -The Edmonton Oilers announced details regarding their newest program, Lil' Oilers today at the Downtown Community Arena. The program continues the Oilers long tradition of support for grassroots hockey and will expand their involvement in youth and amateur hockey in Edmonton. Lil' Oilers is a Learn to Play initiative, developed in collaboration with the National Hockey League (NHL) and National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), that is designed to introduce youth (boys and girls) aged five to six (2010 and 2011 birth dates) to the great game of hockey.
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"The Oilers are proud to continue our legacy of support for youth and amateur hockey. This is going to be a truly fantastic program to introduce children to hockey in a fun and supportive learning environment," said Oilers Entertainment Group CEO and Vice Chairman Bob Nicholson. "Lil' Oilers is yet another innovative program that we can proudly share with our Oil Country family and hopefully the kids have a blast on the ice because that's what it's all about."
Set to launch in February 2017 in the new Downtown Community Arena adjacent to Rogers Place, Lil' Oilers will help break common entry barriers into the minor hockey system by providing all participants with new complimentary hockey equipment, as well as world-class on-ice instruction from Oilers Alumni and local hockey experts with seven on-ice sessions.
Leading Lil' Oilers will be 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.
"Having the opportunity to represent Lil' Oilers is a huge honour and I'm excited to meet all of the kids and get this program started alongside Fernando Pisani and Jeff Deslauriers," said Oilers Alumni and Lil' Oilers Lead Instructor Jason Strudwick. "Edmonton is a special place and hockey is a big part of our community. Growing the game and introducing kids to hockey is going to be incredibly rewarding for all of us."
"Hockey Edmonton is very excited that the Edmonton Oilers are launching the Lil' Oilers program. It's a great opportunity for boys and girls to experience the game and try something new this winter," said Hockey Edmonton Executive Director Dean Hengel. "We're really looking forward to providing on-ice assistance with the program and hopefully having youth boys and girls who graduate from Lil' Oilers to join one of our minor hockey programs for the 2017-18 season."
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, 2010 and December 31, 2011.
- Minor Hockey Background: No previous participation within any Hockey Canada sanctioned programming.
- Deposit: $100. Upon program completion, $100 will be credited towards enrollment in the Edmonton minor hockey program for the 2017-18 season.
Lil' Oilers participants will be selected via lottery following the application process. Applications will be accepted starting today, Wednesday, October 26, 2016 until Sunday, December 11, 2016 at 5:00 PM MST. Please note, one application will be accepted per child.
Edmonton Oilers hockey is presented by Rogers, Molson Canadian, Scotiabank, Ford and the Rexall Family of Pharmacies.