Slap Shot Hockey begins in Markham and Richmond Hill
Think of a gymnasium filled with 25 kids.
What's the first thing that comes to mind? I bet it's not near silence but sometimes, that's what we get. During the first few weeks when the Slap Shot hockey program kicks off, we are often met with children who are bursting with energy but too shy to show it.
This is a brand new game with new equipment, new rules and of course, new nerves. In their eyes you can see they are hungry to understand the sport but sometimes their little bodies get caught in a freeze frame. They are nervous, hesitant and most of them shy.
Having now watched the program in its entirety, I can safely say the transformation of students from day one to "ice day" is quite phenomenal. During the early sessions of the program, I've seen kids try to get rid of the ball the second they get it. I've even witnessed kids stand completely still holding their sticks, too scared to move out of position.
Fast forward a few sessions and now those very same players are clapping and stomping their feet on the bench. When it's their turn to play, they are itching to get the ball. Encouragement bounces off the four walls of the gymnasium. When the whistle blows and it's time to say "good game" to the other team, hands are sweaty and a little more gritty after periods of all-out play.
So when kids go silent, take a moment to soak it in.
It won't be long before they are in full-force voicing their excitement.
Jessica Young, Slap Shot guest coach
"Experience begins with opportunity"
From helmets to sharpened skates to their very own hockey stick, SLAP SHOT is an after school hockey program that has been running in the York Region since 2009.
It provides Newcomer children in grades 4-6 with the opportunity to learn Canada's national game for the first time.
Character Community Foundation is partnering again with the York Region District School Board, York Catholic District School Board, York Regional Police, Ontario Minor Hockey Association and Hockey Canada on the program.
This 7 week program will kick off in several school gymnasiums where children will be introduced to floor hockey to learn about sportsmanship, teamwork and the character attributes.
They also learn the rules of hockey along with invaluable lessons to improve leadership skills, socialization, nutrition and health.
We will highlight and feature activites that will model Compassion, Courage, Fairness, Honesty, Inclusiveness, Initiative, Integrity, Optimism,Perseverance, Respect and Responsibility.
At the end of five weeks of the gym sessions, SLAP SHOT moves into an "On Ice" event with fun-filled hockey activities. On the seventh week we host a Pizza wrap up lunch where we talk about the Attributes in Action and share a video recap of their experiences and hand out Team Photos and Medallions.
The programs goal is to provide 250 Newcomer and low income children with an opportunity they otherwise would not have due to financial and/or cultural barriers.
At the same time, the program encourages their families to become active members of society to help strengthen their ties to the community and school and improve their language skills, and build a connection to Canada's cultural heritage and experience.
We are looking for additonal sponsorships and donations to enrich this program so please contact us if you are interested in becoming involved.
Donate to support the SLAP SHOT Program
If you would like to make a donation to support this particular program please visit our Canada Helps donor portal and indicate the SLAP SHOT program when you make your donation.