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Hurricanes Take to the Ice in the Community
Posted By: JFDOUCET
Saturday, December 17, 2011

By GEORDIE CARRAGHER

 

CHARLOTTETOWN - The Holland College Junior Hurricanes are near the top of the Razzy's PEI Junior C Hockey League, and now they're turning their attention to helping younger players.  Holland College has partnered up with Hockey PEI and the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada to help attract new players to play hockey.  Hockey PEI started the initiative last season when the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) donated 25 sets of hockey equipment through its Goals and Dreams program.


Hurricanes players David Wamback, Darren Cairns, and
Stewart Branstrom helping run Hockey PEI clinic.  Check out
the Photo Gallery for some more snapshots.
Mike White, technical director at Hockey PEI, said they identified roughly 20 kids in conjunction with the Newcomers Association who wanted to give hockey a try.  "
The goal of the program is just to give kids an opportunity to play the game who may not otherwise get the opportunity."  Last year, 17 kids took part in the on-ice sessions, and two registered for minor hockey this season.
 
White said Holland College's involvement came about while preparing for the second year of clinics.  "We thought 'Who are some older kids around Charlottetown the newcomers could look up to,' and we thought Holland College would be a good fit."  Daniel Cudmore, general manager for the Junior Hurricanes, said the team was looking to become more involved in the community this season.
 
"It provides these young kids who have never played the game of hockey with a chance to learn from players who have obviously played hockey all of their lives."
 
White said Holland College was the ideal choice of partner based on their new sport programs around the Island.  "Their players get some experience dealing with younger kids, and the younger kids can look up to them."
 
Cudmore said the team has embraced the idea of helping out on the ice and in the community.  "We're real happy with being involved and look forward to becoming more involved with the PEI community moving forward."

Junior Hurricanes forward Stewart Branstrom said the experience has been positive.  "It felt great to help kids learn how to play hockey and skate.  It felt good, yet humbling to think the kids idolized them on the ice.  It was rewarding to hear them say 'You're really good at hockey' and 'I don't know how you can skate so hard so long".
 
Cudmore said the team benefits greatly as well.  "It gives our players the chance to grow as young men with this experience so it's a win-win for all involved."
 
White said feedback on the clinics has always been positive.  "The kids are always happy to see new faces and when they get to the rink, they're always ready to go."  White said the Holland College players have been helpful in all aspects, adding that they're pleased with the contribution.  "These kids are new to the game, and they're still not 100 per cent sure of how the gear is put on, and so they're helping them make sure everything is put on properly, and then they help out with instruction on the ice."

White said the most rewarding aspect of the clinics is seeing the smiles on the children's faces.  "When you get to the rink with these kids, they're just so enthusiastic and so happy to be there. They can't wait to get out on the ice and learning and getting better."
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