The nation’s top Midget teams are in Moose Jaw this week for the 2014 TELUS Cup, but they won’t be the only ones on the ice at Mosaic Place during Canada’s National Midget Championship.
A group of Grade 3-4 students from St. Mary School in Moose Jaw will skate during the intermission of one of the games, showing off their skating skills thanks to RBC Play Hockey and the Learn to Skate program.
In an effort to further its commitment to grassroots hockey, particularly in communities hosting national championships this season, RBC put out a call for applications from local schools, and St. Mary was only too happy to take part.
Sarah Phipps, the school’s principal, sent a short essay with the main reasons why her school should be selected, noting that many students had never been presented with the opportunity to lace up a pair of skates.
The essay worked – 22 students were outfitted with new skates and helmets from Bauer, and took to the ice for three one-hour lessons in Late February and early March, with a Hockey Canada-certified instructor leading the program.
Phipps’ essay also included mention of a number of staff who were eager to volunteer, including physical education teacher Carter Davis, who knows a thing of two about hockey himself, having played two seasons in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and four years with St. Scholastica College, an NCAA Division III school.
“The program was great. It was an awesome experience for every kid involved,” Davis said. “It gives an opportunity to kids that otherwise wouldn’t get a chance like this one. Kids who have never been on an ice rink before, or who don’t own pair of skates, were able to skate with their fellow classmates, get laughs and enjoy the experience.”
And if the teachers had fun, what did the kids think?
“It was really fun to skate around everywhere,” said Michaela Decorby. “I learned how to stop and how to skate backwards. It was kind of hard at first, but not that hard.
“It is something I would love to do again. I enjoyed practicing my moves. I think I might even like to play hockey one day!”
For other students, like Gio Abarca, the RBC Learn to Skate program was all about new experiences.
“It was good. I had never skated before, so it was my first time. It was fun to be out there, out of school!”
The St. Mary School staff has decided that the helmets and skates will remain with the school, giving future classes a chance to have the experiences this year’s students did, and leaving a lasting legacy of the RBC Learn to Skate program.
“Now that we have the skates and helmets, we can do this continuously year after year,” Davis said. “Not only has one classroom benefitted greatly from the program, but also the future generations of St. Mary students as well.”
For more information on RBC Learn to Skate grants and how to submit an application, CLICK HERE.