Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Hockey FUNdamentals

I consider myself pretty lucky when it comes to some of the relationships I've been able to foster through this blog and the radio show. It has led to some incredible experiences, and I'm happy to report that I was invited to participate in another fun experience tonight as I went down to Canlan Ice Sports to take in a session of the Hockey Fundamentals course they are running. I wasn't on skates, but I did get to witness a lively class of women willing to be put through the paces by the instructors in order to improve their games. As far as I could tell, this group of women will undoubtedly be a solid graduating class once they make it through their classes, and I have no doubt that they'll be suiting up for a team at Canlan Ice Sports in the near future!

The range of ages for these women went from ladies in the thirties right through to those nearing retirement. Each and every woman I spoke to tonight really seemed to be enjoying their times on the ice, and all of them wore beaming smiles as they skated over to speak with yours truly. You could tell that they were enjoying themselves, and all of them had incredible things to say about the program.

Trish #1: "This is my first session with Canlan. Last year, I was somewhere else, but it's great! Really great!"

Vicky: "It's alright! I like it! This is my third session, and I have lots of fun. I used to play ringette when I was young and haven't been on the ice in, like, 20 years, so it's awesome!"

Liz: "Oh it's a lot of fun! This beats going to a treadmill in a gym some place!"

Liz, you'll be interested to know, didn't start playing hockey until she was 52! As stated above, this Hockey Fundamentals program is for players of all skills and ages, and the ladies I spoke with all had excellent things to say about instructors Sean, Kyle, and Kayla. It sounds as though half the fun is created by the instructors, and, as they say, a lesson taught with humor is a lesson retained!

Trish #2: "Very competent. (Sean)'s good at modifying things for different levels. He's good at tailoring it for everyone in the class."

That's key in all of this, isn't it? Good instructors who can reach players at their levels and help them improve their skills. Canlan Ice Sports has gone through a number of instructors as they search for great people who are excellent teachers in the sport of hockey. Kyle and Kayla assisted Sean Fisher on the ice, and Mr. Fisher is well-known to those following the University of Manitoba Bisons women's hockey program. Sean is an assistant coach with the program, so he knows how to run drills and get the most out of his students. Sean, Kyle, and Kayla ran the ladies through a pile of drills to continue their growth as players, and you could see the confidence in their smiles as they mastered the fundamentals!

Sean: "I think a lot of the participants we have out here tonight are returning clients who come back on a regular basis - session by session - and I've seen a huge improvement in those players."

I have to hand it to Canlan Ice Sports and Program Director Tyler Stewart for success of the Hockey Fundamentals program. They have had a number of the graduates from past years move on to play adult hockey in leagues at Canlan Ice Sports, and they appear to be close to having very competent, very capable players getting ready to graduate in this year's program as well.

The five players I spoke with all look like veteran players on their skates. While I wasn't there at the beginning of the sessions, hearing these ladies speak of their significant improvements and seeing the smiles on their faces as they talk about improving their hockey skills is proof enough that the Hockey Fundamentals program at Canlan Ice Sports works.

And most of all, you can't spell "fundamentals" without the word "fun"!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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