After an overwhelmingly positive response this past spring, Bauer and Hockey Canada have decided to bring its First Shift program back to Golden in 2016.
The decision was finalized last week, giving Golden a rare opportunity to host the beginner hockey program in back-to-back years.
The First Shift program, which gives kids who have never played organized hockey before an opportunity to get their first exposure to the game, is made up of six on-ice sessions with professional instructors. The program sold out in Golden last year with 45 kids participating and that response enabled Tyler Gulliford to champion its return for a second season.
“To go back to a small community twice is very, very rare because you can only get so many kids. I’m not expecting to sell out this year but I would love to and that would be huge. It would put us on the map with Hockey Canada for sure if we sold out two years in a row,” said Gulliford, who has played a big role in bringing the program to Golden.
The program costs $99, which includes the on-ice sessions and a full set of equipment – valued at several hundred dollars – which the kids get to keep following the sessions.
Of the 45 kids who participated a year ago, Gulliford says at least 10 signed to play with Golden Minor Hockey full-time this season, but even those who didn’t still benefitted from having their own gear.
“We had a family of three come out of Parson last year. They drove every Sunday…I know it’s a long drive to come and play minor hockey for a full season and they chose not to, but at least they have full gear and they can play in Parson on their rink,” Gulliford said.
In addition to the six sessions in the spring, Golden Minor Hockey decided to add an optional second part to the program in the fall, which many of the program’s young players chose to participate in as well.
While First Shift is designed for kids from 6-10 years old, there is a chance that five year-olds will be allowed to participate as well, as they did in the first program earlier this year.
Registration for First Shift will be done on a first come, first serve basis. More information can be found at firstshift.ca or by contacting Gulliford at firstname.lastname@example.org.