For the love of the game

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It seems that the image of our national game has lost some of its shine in recent years. With the NHL millionaire players embroiled in a bitter dispute with their billionaire owners, it’s hard to find anything positive about what is widely considered to be our nations most revered activity.

But sometimes, you need look no further than your local rink to find the inspiration required to lift your spirits and remind you about the true meaning of hockey. Children as young as three years old were given an opportunity to learn about the sport they love from the people who sharpened their very own skills in local minor hockey associations across Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Springdale Braves mens hockey team decided to give back to the community by developing and implementing a detailed power skating camp for the children in the Springdale District Minor Hockey Association (SDMHA). To top that off, they even paid for the ice time for all sessions of the camp. When asked, team spokesperson Doug Keough said “This will become an annual event – no doubt about it”. Keough cited “the tremendous amount of positive feedback from parents and kids alike” as one of the reasons he is confident that this event will grow.

For most families, attending a skills camp like this requires dipping deep into their pockets to travel to, and participate such an event. Some parents surmised that the actual cost, including travel, meals and accommodations would run them as much as $600.00 - $700.00 dollars. Yet, the fee for this event was simply showing up with a willingness to participate.

“This is the second example this season of the growing spirit of hockey in this community” noted Danny Huxter, President of SDMHA, “the first was the Legends Game where some 600 fans attended, and now today, our stadium is buzzing again with parents and their kids, it’s a beautiful thing.”

Both Keough and Huxter agree that this is the beginning of an important partnership between SDMHA and the Springdale Braves. “We are already in talks to add to this event and make it even better” said Huxter.

The SDMHA now has over 130 kids registered with the organization, “Our hope is to build on that” said Huxter, “ Hockey is so much more than chasing a puck, hockey is building a foundation of self confidence, physical fitness, team building and time management, it is an opportunity for kids to learn to express themselves through sport and activity.”

Keough also noted that “Every division in the SDMHA, has at least one current or past Braves player serving as a coach, we have always seen the value of giving back,” he said, “But this past weekend only served to cement that idea as an absolute truth.”

So while the current NHL squabble may dominate the headlines, the true meaning of hockey is alive and well at the local rink. As a final thought Huxter commented, “to me, it’s starting to feel like the old days when hockey was king in this town. I invite everyone to come to the arena to check it out for yourselves, Go Braves Go!”

Organizations: Springdale District Minor Hockey Association, NHL

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