Students Jump Off the Bench for First Shift

Over sixty students from McKellar Park Central Public School and Ogden Community Public School are hitting the ice to learn hockey fundamentals thanks to the First Shift Hockey Program. Each school has been allotted 30 hours of ice time that will give many of the participants their first opportunity to receive formal on ice instruction. The program instills confidence, perseverance, determination and teamwork character traits that have been built on in the classroom level and within the community.

Support from a number of groups and individuals has ensured that all students who want to play, are able to join the classmates on the ice.

“We are overwhelmed by the support that this program has received from the numerous supporters and sponsors,” says Jo-Anne Giertuga, Principal of McKellar Park Central Public School. “Without these wonderful community supporters, our students would not be able to join their peers in learning the fundamental skills to play hockey.”

Through corporate sponsorships including RBC, MNP (MyersNorrisPenny Accounting Firm), the Wayne Gretzky Foundation and the Stopconcussion Foundation, McKellar Park and Ogden Community students were able to participate in the First Shift Program, a partnership between Bauer, Canadian Tire and Hockey Canada. Thousands of dollars of equipment have been donated to the program by these organizations.

“The amazing support for this program is not limited to financial support,” says Andrea Pugliese, Principal of Ogden Community Public School. “In addition to staff from both schools, we have been extremely fortunate to have a number of individuals and organizations who have volunteered to support the McKellar and Ogden students on the ice.”

On ice volunteers include:
• Thunder Bay Correctional Services staff
• Lakehead University Students
• Parents
• High School students