Students are lacing up their skates and putting their stick back on the ice for this year’s Lloydminster Public School Division Hockey Academy.
Yesterday, all 34 students were geared up and ready to go at the Servus Sports Centre for the 2020-2021 intake.
Director Lance Ward said this is the academy’s second time on the ice after having a “trial” run with fewer students last week.
For the past month, students have been off-ice doing “dry land” activities and classroom work. This includes health, fitness and wellness, multi-sport training, leadership groups, character development, and team-building exercises.
A total of 34 students signed up for the program this year with half, being 4th graders, hitting the ice for the first time.
Grade 5 Rendell Park student Bennett Amos said his favourite activity to do on the ice is “scramble”.
“It’s kind of like a miniature game where someone would put the puck in the corner and then you would skate to it and try score.”
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the economy, Ward said enrollment is up around 10 kids from last year.
“Sometimes enrollment is something that we wonder about with all the changes going on in the economy, we definitely had considerations about that.”
Over the past five years, Ward and his staff have worked with the school division to make the academy affordable for families.
“We’ve got many discounts that are available. The kids that are passionate about sports and hockey it’s a great option for them and the time that’s affordable.”
He mentioned students have been very receptive to the changes implemented due to the current public health guidelines.
“They know all the rules and guidelines that are in place now with the COVID going on. They have no problems with wearing their masks into the locker rooms, and even while they’re getting dressed.”
All the students are in the same cohorts created at their respective schools. The students come from Rendell Park Elementary School, College Park School or Bishop Lloyd Middle School.
He mentioned this has changed the on-ice sessions as they have half the amount of kids than they usually do on the ice.
When academy got the green light to resume, Ward said the number one focus was the safety of the students and staff.
“We’re excited about the way it’s going, we feel like we’re able to manage that.”
He mentioned the Servus Sports Centre has been accommodating to the academy when needed.
“They help us out with using some extra locker rooms and some extra cleaning for us.”
The academy has certified teachers instructing the program with the goal to support student academics through sport.
The program is structured into four sessions with two being on-ice and the rest being off-ice every week, which replaces instructional time typically received for physical education and health.
It features male and female student-athletes in Grades 4 through 9.