Published online at Edmonton.Ctvnews.ca on Jan. 8, 2013.
Linda Hoang, CTV Edmonton: January 8, 2013
Adults show it’s never too late to try something new, learn to play hockey
Some Edmontonians are proving it’s never too late to realize your dream: they’ve enrolled in a hockey program aimed at adults who’ve never played before.
The group of hockey-players-to-be hit the ice for the first time Monday night.
Anyone over the age of 18 can sign up and organizers say they’ve gotten players up to 60-years-old expressing an interest.
“We’ve had 60-year-old people come in and want to learn how to play hockey because their grandkids have started playing hockey,” said Candace Peace with NCHL.
“Anybody can play and that’s what we would like everyone to know.”
The NCHL Beginner Program has been offered for six years. It began as one program designed just for women and has since grown to four programs held three times a year between Calgary and Edmonton.
Graham Jackson’s young son has begun to play hockey and inspired Jackson to sign up and learn himself.
“It’s terrifying when you go to a play hockey and people have been playing for 20 years and you’re playing by yourself,” Jackson said.
“I want to just be able to learn a few things, get a little better at hockey, and be an example to my son.”
Jackson suited up with his friend Tom Hayduk, and 30 others on Monday night for the program’s first on-ice session.
“It’s a great opportunity to have something like this for adults, to learn something new,” Jackson said.
“I’m just looking for how to get out there, basic goalie moves, how to stop the puck, beginner level so I can get out there and compete against other teams,” Hayduk said. “I just hope to be able to be competitive in the game.”
The program runs over a 12-week period featuring 12 on-ice sessions, eight instructional classes, two off-ice sessions and four games against other beginner programs.
Each class has 32 people for two teams of 16 people each.
Peace says many beginners move on into the NCHL league and become full-fledged hockey players.
“Once you come through the programs you’ll actually be playing games against the other beginner programs with full stats and referees and time keepers and everything like that so by the end of the program you’re actually playing full hockey games,” Peace said.
That’s Hayduk’s end goal.
“Play a couple of games and join a team afterwards, start a team afterwards,” he said.
Peace says adults like Jackson and Hayduk are perfect examples that it’s never too late to try something new.
“A lot of the perception out there is people feel they can’t play hockey. This is a non-intimidation factor when you come onto the ice. Everyone is on the same page as you,” Peace said.
“It’s Canada’s pastime and we’d like everyone to learn and get on the ice with us.”
Peace said details about their upcoming spring session will be posted on their website soon.