CALGARY– Building on the growing success of The First Shift – a learn-to-play hockey program for kids aged 6-10 - Bauer Hockey and Hockey Canada looking to double the number of programs it delivers across the country next season.
With an emphasis on fun, The First Shift allows kids ages 6-10 to easily try hockey for $199, which includes enrollment for a six-week, on-ice curriculum and head-to-toe BAUER equipment that each child can keep. The initiative began in 2012 with four pilot programs in Ontario and Nova Scotia, expanded the following year to 40 programs, and doubled to 80 programs delivered in the 2015-16 hockey season.
“To-date, we’ve introduced more than 4,600 players to the game through The First Shift,” said Mary-Kay Messier, senior director, strategic brand initiatives and partnerships, Bauer Hockey. “The popularity of the program continues to grow for kids and their families, with many of programs having to turn kids away and reaching capacity registration in a matter of days. We’re looking to just about double the number of programs we deliver next season, with a target of 150 The First Shift programs for the 2016-17 season.”
The First Shift was created with the goal of creating an exceptional first experience in hockey not only for young players, but for their entire family.
Based on surveys of families and parents whose children participated in The First Shift, 86 per cent of First Shift participants re-enroll into hockey in the First Shift Transition program, 100 per cent of parents said their kids had fun, and 100 per cent of parents would recommend the program to a friend.
Minor hockey associations asked to register now to bring The First Shift to their community
The First Shift is delivered through minor hockey associations (MHAs) across Canada in partnership with Bauer Hockey and Hockey Canada, and relies on volunteer coaches and program administrators to succeed. MHAs interested in applying to bring The First Shift to their community next year are asked to apply now for both fall and winter 2016-17 sessions.
Part of the responsibilities of the MHAs participating in The First Shift include the provision of two blocks of six successive ice sessions on the same day of the week at the same time each day; a space to host the Welcome Event; a commitment to attend program education sessions; and the ability to provide resource personnel to support the delivery of The First Shift program.
“Hockey Canada wants to see more Canadians enjoying the many benefits of hockey – from its ability to support healthy, active lifestyles, to its inherent social outlet and the many life-skills learned from playing in a team environment,” said Paul Carson, vice-president of membership development at Hockey Canada. “Working with Bauer Hockey, The First Shift was developed to specifically meet the needs of those families who are new to hockey and want a fun way for their children to first experience the game.”