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By Chris Marchand
With changes to body-checking rules for players under age 13 and a new clinics to help players understand the finer points of their positions, The Dryden Hockey School has their hands full coming into their fourth season.
The school will hit the ice Aug. 19-23 and commonly involves five groups (30 kids per group) ranging in age from eight to 15 years of age.
Instructor Randy Allen says that the school will add a swim at the Rec Centre to the three group sessions that fall within Rec Centre hours this year.
“The following week we’ll offer to do a positional clinic that runs for defencemen, goalies and forwards,” said Allen. “They’ll get an hour and 15 minutes of ice-time for four nights.”
In mid-May the board of directors of the sport’s governing body, Hockey Canada, voted to take bodychecking out of the game for players under the age of 13 (Pee Wee) in a move to try to limit a growing trend of brain injuries in younger players.
Allen says the Hockey Canada ruling will be phased into their approach.
“We’ve always had an (body-checking) implementation plan, but this year it will be more prevalent because of the new rules, which we have to try to enforce.” he said. “The second-year Pee Wees will get a bit of body checking (training), but they won’t be able to check in their season. We implement a four-step progression with ages 12 to 14 and the groups under that will learn about positioning, angling, stick checks and body contact confidence.”
The Hockey School will once again make use of local Conor Doherty’s Star Fitness Program to coordinate the dryland training portion of the school.
Local instructors will include Allen, Bill Brunton, former NCAA player Megan Pinette and former major-junior player Jason Stevenson.
The early bird registration deadline ends June 21. To register, call Karen Nickle at the City of Dryden Recreation office at 223-1425, or at the Dryden Pool and Fitness Centre.
For more information on the positional clinics, or to register, contact Randy Allen at 223-3944.