In partnership with the Vancouver Canucks, the Canucks Centre for BC Hockey and the Hazelton Minor Hockey Association (HMHA), BC Hockey is excited announce that Hockey Day in Hazelton will take place on Saturday, November 26, 2016.
The day will kick off with a traditional First Nations Welcome Ceremony from Gitxsan Chief Frances Sampson and other dignitaries, followed by an on-ice session as part of the Canucks Learn to Play program. Twenty-five (25) Initiation and Novice aged players who have never played organized hockey have been provided with full head-to-toe gear as part of the program. The on-ice sessions will include skill development stations for the players to rotate through and will be run by local coaches and Canucks alumni.
“Hockey is a great way for children to learn the principles of hard work, teamwork and leadership,” said Kirk McLean, Canucks Ambassador and Learn to Play Alumni Representative. “The Learn to Play program provides a great opportunity to introduce hockey to children and families who might not have the means to sign up and play. We are excited to visit Hazelton and help grow the game in this passionate sports community.”
Hockey Day in Hazelton Schedule of Events
The majority of the participants in the Learn to Play program are from one of the First Nations villages in and surrounding Hazelton who have not had the opportunity to participate in organized hockey.
“By bringing the program to the Hazeltons, we hope that it will open a new door for children who have never played hockey before to learn and enjoy the game,” commented BC Hockey Chair of the Board, Randy Henderson. “We want to leave a lasting impression on the Hazelton area First Nations communities and the children who are trying hockey for the first time.”
BC Hockey and the Canucks are looking forward to working with the local communities to grow the game of hockey in the area. The Gitxsan vision statement sets of the goal of “Working together to create, healthy, sustainable and prosperous communities,” and this initiative is the first in a commitment to promote and encourage participation in sport programs. Investing in healthy living and sport programs involving Aboriginal communities is a key commitment of BC Hockey and the Vancouver Canucks.
“Hazelton was already a Canucks town but this donation of hockey equipment has really caused a lot of excitement,” added HMHA President, Ryneld Starr. “A lot of people who never considered putting their child in hockey because of the cost have signed up. As we get ready to move into our new arena this will help ensure anyone who wants to play hockey will get that chance.”
Following the on-ice session, Canucks alumni Kirk McLean, Dave Babych and Jyrki Lumme will be panelists in a Hot Stove session at Hazelton Secondary School. This event is free and open to all community members. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions, meet the alumni, take pictures and receive autographs.
“Our partnership with the Canucks Centre for BC Hockey continues to provide great grassroots opportunities like the Learn to Play program,” added BC Hockey Chief Executive Officer, Barry Petrachenko. “Reaching our small communities like Hazelton is key to our efforts grow the game and enhance relationships with our member Associations.”