Tessa Chabot (left) is one of many young hockey players practicing their skills through the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association as the season ramps up at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex.

Tessa Chabot (left) is one of many young hockey players practicing their skills through the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association as the season ramps up at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex.

Bauer, Hockey Canada launch new learn-to-play program

Bauer Hockey and Hockey Canada announced Sunday they will be offering The First Shift.

Bauer Hockey and Hockey Canada announced Sunday they will be offering The First Shift, a new type of learn-to-play hockey program this fall, designed to introduce kids and families to the game in a fun, convenient and practical way.

The First Shift will be available in 30 markets this fall across Canada, including Williams Lake, B.C., and is part of Bauer Hockey’s global Grow the Game initiative to add one million new families to the game by 2022.

“We’re excited to bring The First Shift to Williams Lake and expand it across Canada because we’ve found it’s a proven model to welcome and attract families to our great game,” said Mary-Kay Messier, who leads the program for Bauer Hockey as director of brand initiatives.

Families and children interested can go to www.TheFirstShift.ca for more information and to sign up for a program through the “Get Started” tab on the website. The First Shift is a six-week program for kids ages 6–10 who have never played hockey. The cost is $199, which includes equipment and enrollment. In partnership with Bauer Hockey and Hockey Canada, the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association will be hosting a welcome event on Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at 525 Proctor Street in Williams Lake for families and kids who have signed up. At the welcome event, participants will receive their gear, learn how to put it on and find out more about the program’s on-ice goals.

It will provide families new to the sport with an offering that is fun, educational and convenient, including a practical commitment level to ensure a child’s interest.

“It is so exciting to work with Bauer Hockey to take The First Shift across Canada and introduce the game to even more Canadians,” said Tom Renney, president and chief executive officer of Hockey Canada. “Hockey Canada has committed itself to making hockey accessible to as many Canadians as possible, and with the tremendous support of Bauer Hockey, this program is a big step in the right direction.”

In the surveys, 100 per cent of parents said they would recommend the program to a friend, 100 per cent of respondents said their children had fun and nearly 80 per cent went on to sign up with their local minor hockey association.