The Junior Blues Youth Hockey Program is developed to give children from the Lawrence Heights and Neptune Drive communities the rare opportunity to learn to play ice hockey with other children.
The program takes place at Baycrest Arena in 32 Division, which is directly in the neighbourhood where the kids live.
A total of 30 children from the ages of 8 to 12 years old were selected from the communities to take part in the hockey program. With funding provided by Proaction Cops & Kids as well as hockey equipment purchased and some donated by members of the community, officers were able to fit each player with the necessary equipment required to play and also educate them on how to get dressed for each game and the importance of safety on and off the ice.
The program was coordinated and coached by Constables Brian Carswell, Ryan Yarde and Derek Ma of the 32 Division Community Response Unit.
The curriculum commenced on October 23, 2014, and run once a week on every Thursday from 4:00 to 5:00pm until the final session, which was held on March 5, 2015. During the 20-week program the children learned basic hockey skills, the importance of teamwork and safety on the ice, respect for teammates and coaches and the importance of building relationships between members of the community and the police. Most of these children never ever skated before the program commenced. Also several uniform officers from 32 Division and members of the community, families and school faculty members attended during the weeks to encourage and cheer the kids on.
I commend all the officers involved for their responsibility, dedication and endurance that was exhibited during the 20 weeks. This program fostered exceptional rapport with the children, parents and their community friends. The program was a great success. Officers received a large amount of positive feedback not only from the children involved but from family members as well. A distinct and vital development in the children’s abilities on the ice and relationships with each other was noticed by all.