First Shift program benefits first time players and families

January 26, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Anyone who has kids involved in hockey knows how expensive it can be to play Canada’s favourite sport.

The cost of equipment alone can be prohibitive and add to that ice fees, registration fees, and special training and it can cost a lot.

So imagine of you suit your child up and it turns out that after hitting the ice they realize that hockey just isn’t their sport.

The First Shift program allows families to get players suited up for the sport at a nominal cost.

“This is program that is offered by Canadian Tire and sponsored by Bauer. They provide all the equipment. Skates, sticks, helmets, all of the equipment and Canadian Tire organizes it all,” explained organizer and president of Shelburne Minor Hockey, Jonathan Geiring. “The families pay $199 and they get fitted from head to toe in hockey equipment. Then they get six one-hour on-ice sessions that is provided by Shelburne Minor Hockey.”

The program is offered by Canadian Tire and Bauer and it is the responsibility of minor hockey associations to take advantage of it.

“It’s an opportunity for kids and parents to try the sport of hockey without having to commit to a full on hockey season. The hope is they will go back to their local minor hockey association and register for a season if they enjoyed the experience,” Geiring said.

In Shelburne the First Shift event took place on Tuesday, January 16, at the Shelburne Legion.

The Legion donated the use of Warriors Hall at no charge so the the event could take place.

This year, 46 very excited kids were suited up. It is the second year in a row the event has been held in Shelburne. The program is open to kids ages six to ten who have never played hockey before.

Parent, Michelle Buchanan, brought her seven year-old son Lucas.

“It’s a great deal, a very good deal,” she said. “You get all the equipment and six hours of ice time. Lucas loves hockey but he hasn’t played ice hockey so he’s a little intimidated. This is nice easy, cheaper way to get into hockey. He’s loving it. He was very excited to come here. In the on-ice sessions he’ll learn to skate, the different drills and making lots of new friends.”

The First Shift event are held across the country and a team from Bauer brings the hockey equipment and runs the event with assistance from local volunteers – in this case with support from Shelburne Minor Hockey.

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