Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Slap Shot! Youngsters Learn the Ins and Outs of Hockey Without the Cost
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Wanna-be Wayne Gretzkys and Hilary Knights take to the ice for the first time.
   
Monday, December 16, 2019
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTOS BY CHRIS CORWIN

Dozens of Wood River Valley Youth are learning to play hockey this winter without incurring the expenses that normally come with such an endeavor.

The kids are participating int a pilot program offed by First Shift Program.

 
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A team meeting precedes the action.
 

The program, instituted by Hockey Canada and Bauer, is designed to break down the barriers to the sport in order to ease kids and their family into hockey.

It was brought to the Sun Valley area by Chris Corwin, Blaine County’s disaster services coordinator. Corwin coaches kids who are 8 years old and younger.

“I was able to make contact with Bauer and ask if they could fund a site in the United States,” he said. “It turns out they have three other pilot programs in the United States, in addition to the programs they have in Canada.”

Bauer, founded in 1927 in Kitchener Canada, sells gear to the kids at a very reduced rate. For $200 they get helmets, jerseys, shin guards, elbow guards, skates, sticks, socks and other protective gear—equipment that would cost between $400 and $500 otherwise. They also get six on-ice sessions and instruction—all of which bring the total to $600 to $1,000 under normal circumstances, according to Corwin.

 
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Whoa! Who’s out of order?
 

“They get a chance to get out and do some drills. They get a chance to see if they like playing hockey before they sign up for Sun Valley Youth Hockey,” he added.

Thirty-four boys and girls ages 4 through 10 signed up for the program. They bandied up to three pallets worth of gear. They then broke up into five different groups based on their ages.

Then, in quick order, they learned skating techniques and how to pass the puck. Two kids chased after one puck, each trying to score. Others weaved their ways around cones set up on the ice. And still others chased after those with pucks.

In their little black and white outfits they looked like penguins—penguins who were slip-sliding on the ice, penguins who were crashing into the boards surrounding the ice rink.

 
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Youngsters used games to practice their skills.
 

Often, they would stop in the middle of play for no explicable reason, other than to sit back and watch the action around them.

It’s the hope of those involved that the players move from learning to play to Sun Valley Youth Hockey.

“We just hope they fall in love with the game,” said Corwin.

 

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