"I have talked to some of the elders within the community in terms of putting this together, and they were like ‘Absolutely. We need to do this for our kids"
The Ben Cafe Robe Society has launched an indigenous hockey academy, believed to be the first of its kind in the Edmonton area, supporting Indigenous youth across Alberta in sports and education.
About 20 players were on the ice for day one, but organizers expect more to register during the week as word gets out.
Former Edmonton Oiler Jason Strudwick is the lead instructor of the program.
"Over the 14 weeks of the academy, we will organize drills that are appropriate for the groups and make sure that we are building not just their hockey skills but their hockey confidence! This is an area that we believe is under supported in hockey players. Positive reinforcement and a fun atmosphere will help them grow. Strength and endurance are important elements for hockey players but there are other areas of training that need to be addressed to create balance throughout the body. Flexibility, power and coordination add a lot to a skater's ability to get up and down the ice with speed and efficiency. We will introduce all these elements for the groups so they can see the improvement creep from the off ice to being on ice.”
The academy is for Indigenous youth between 12-17 and is held 4 days a week, with 2 on ice sessions and 2 dry land sessions.
If you're interested in signing up your child, please contact Trevor Berard at 780-819-0607 or download forms here
"We will work with every family to make sure they can be in the hockey academy"