Hazelton hockey players and the public get a chance to meet Canucks alumni Saturday at Hazelton Secondary School.

Canucks alumni in Hazelton Saturday

It is Hockey Day in Hazelton Saturday, with 25 youngsters provided full gear and on-ice sessions from the Canucks.

Vancouver Canucks alumni Kirk McLean, Dve Babych and Jyrki Lumme will be in Hazelton Saturday as part of Hockey Day in Hazelton.

The public gets to meet them at Hazelton Secondary School starting at 3 p.m. But 25 kids are the really lucky ones: Initiation and Novice aged players who have never played organized hockey have been provided with full head-to-toe gear, and will get an on-ice sessions from local coaches and the 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, in a release.

“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.”

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.

The Learn to Play initiative was developed jointly by the National Hockey League (NHL) and the NHL Players’ Association. The program was designed with the help of experts from USA Hockey and Hockey Canada with the initiative aiming to be the gold standard for youth hockey programs and has a goal of inspiring more families to join the hockey community. Learn to Play changes the way youth hockey is offered by providing participants, between four (4) to eight (8) years of age, free head-to-toe equipment, age appropriate instruction and certified coaching, led by NHL alumni, in a fun and safe atmosphere.

Schedule of events:

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Learn to Play Program, Hazelton Arena 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Player Check In, Hazelton Arena 1:00pm

Welcome Ceremony, Hazelton Arena 1:30pm

On-Ice Session, Hazelton Arena 1:40pm

Canucks Hot Stove, Hazelton Secondary School  3:00pm 

Canucks Meet and Greet, Hazelton Secondary School 3:30pm – 4:15pm

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