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Program benefits from assistance of Dryden GM Ice Dogs players in on-ice sessions
By Michael Christianson
Students of New Prospect School are living every young Canadians dream this year, learning about hockey at school.
The Hockey Skills Acaedmy program includes academics, hockey skills, off-ice strength and conditioning, mental training, and personal and team development.
Teacher and coach Bill Reid sees the academy as a great program for learning many skills that can even transfer outside of hockey.
“To me it’s physical fitness and it’s other things that go well beyond even school, self regulation, goal setting,” said Reid. “This is a real opportunity for the kids to learn about authentic tasks, being on time for example right now we’ve got to be on time to get on the ice. Getting off the ice on time to get on the bus, things like that.”
Reid has some help at the arena as member of the Dryden GM Ice Dogs joined to offer their skills and time.
“The Ice Dogs were tremendous yesterday,” said Reid. “We had five of them out there and without them it wouldn’t have been as successful as it was. It was a great day and we hope to continue on. They’ve been a great support for us and will be throughout the year.”
Matt Houston is one of the Ice Dogs that helped out during the camp. He could be seen helping out some of the less skilled skaters and he says it was nice to be there with them and talk with them as they worked on their skating.
“It was awesome getting out there and being with the kids,” said Houston. “They’re obviously really excited to have the Ice Dogs out there. For us it was really good for us to get out in the community right away for the guys coming in to see what is expected and the community presence we have as a group.”
The program is run for Grade 7 and 8 students, students like Carter Armstrong. Armstrong has played hockey for eight years and went to regionals last year with the AA Dryden Paper Kings. He said it’s great that he can work on his hockey skills with those who have experience like the Ice Dogs and coach Reid.
“It’s cool that he played Michigan hockey,” said Armstrong. “So it’s good that we have an experienced coach who knows what he is talking about.”
The program has about five girls this year and they are holding their own with the boys. Talia Marion played with three teams last year on both boy’s and girl’s teams and she hopes to get more of her friends out skating.
“I joined the hockey program because I play hockey and I want to improve on my hockey skills,” said Marion. “I think it would be fun for me and my friends, especially those who don’t know how to skate we could learn how to skate together. Well, I know how to skate but mostly I could help them out.”
Coach Reid is hopeful the program will benefit all levels of skill and knows the opportunity for more ice time will help everyone improve.
“One of the benefits of the program here is for kids who are playing hockey and want to move on in hockey, which is great,” said Reid. “This gives them a season within a season. They’re going to get probably a hundred hours of ice time throughout the year so that means they’re going to get two years within the one year which means their development is going to increase substantially.”