The Hockey Canada Skills Academy celebrated its second year Wednesday by showing off the growth of the program.
They also had a lot of fun.
The program held a ‘Hockey Day at Riverview’ that brought together the junior and senior programs from the academy and concluded with a scrimmage that also involved alumni, parents, coaches and other community members.
“We’ve had every kind of skill level. They’ve developed at their own pace,” said James Irving, who coaches the academy along with Jeff Kitts. “Some came to the program having played hockey all of their lives coming up through the Moose Jaw Minor Hockey program and we just look to refine their skills. There are some that can barely skate.”
The program began this year at the beginning of October and runs until the end of January. The students are on the ice three times a week, but also do dry land training in addition to their work on the ice.
While the program focuses on skill development, there’s plenty that goes into the program beyond the basics on the ice.
“There’s the on-ice component, but we also do dry land training for the first month,” said Irving. “We also go over the hockey lifestyle and what you need: everything from nutrition to sleep patterns and how to build a lifestyle around wanting to be a hockey player.
“There’s lots of video too. They get the opportunity to develop drills and practice plans so they get an idea of what goes into coaching — should that be something that they want to pursue later.”
The junior program features kids in Grade 7 and 8 from Westmount and Empire. The senior program features Grades 9-12s from Riverview and Cornerstone.
This year the junior program had 20 students and the senior program had 12. Students earn a class credit for their participation in the co-ed program.