The hockey program at J.A. Laird Elementary School has given the chance for some high school athletes to become instructors for younger students.
Currently four David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) students are helping out with the program and working with the elementary children on their skills on the ice.
The instructors from DTSS are using the time to pass on knowledge to the Laird students.
Haley McDonald said she wanted to be involved with the program, “Because I enjoy playing hockey and working with kids’ programs. Working with the elementary school children has been a really great experience for me and it’s amazing to see how much all of the kids have improved their skills.”
Brendan Sage is another students at DTSS who felt this was also a great chance for him to learn what it was like to be a coach.
“It has been fun working with them and watching them grow as hockey players, I enjoy it. I have gotten more confident with speaking in front of groups of people, and how hard it is to be a coach,” Sage said.
McDonald also noted a change for her when dealing with other situations both on and off the ice.
“ I have gained leadership skills and a better understanding about the game of hockey from taking part in this. I’ve learned to take charge and speak up and when I teach certain skills I get a better understanding of it for myself,” McDonald said.
The program has been running smoothly through its first year at the school and has given the younger students, some of whom had never played hockey before, the chance to be physical in a learning environment on the ice.
“I think it’s a good experience for the kids that have never been on the ice before. Also the students who are in minor hockey have shown a big improvement from September until now. It is a chance to work on those little technical skills that you normally wouldn’t work on in a regular minor hockey practice, Sage said.
McDonald agreed with this and added, “ I think programs like this are important for the younger students so they can be active. This program gives them the chance to try a new sport and to improve their skills.”