Over 100 schoolchildren took to the ice today with the help of Great Britain Under-18s as Ice Hockey UK officially launched their Learn to Play (LTP) program today at Dumfries Ice Bowl.
IHUK put together a development plan to the IIHF for the program and many clubs have now received equipment to help recruit youngsters into ice hockey.
The clubs had to apply to the IHUK and there was a strict criteria, which the clubs now have to adhere to throughout the program.
- All LTP sessions should be delivered by at least two coaches with a valid Level 2 Coaching Certificate and should be registered with Ice Hockey UK and be the club’s nominated LTP coaching instructors.
- Clubs/facilities should have a minimum of one to two hours ice time per week dedicated to the LTP program.
- LTP sessions should be open to any child under the age of 16 and be made as accessible as possible.
- The LTP program should be included in a pathway of ice hockey participation. Participants should be encouraged to join a local club to continue their ice hockey participation.
- Where a LTP program is delivered by a club, the committee of that club should have a LTP Administration Representative that regularly attends LTP program meetings.
- Each club or facility that operates a LTP must have a development plan that makes appropriate reference to the LTP program.
- Each club or facility that operates a LTP program must send at least two dedicated LTP coaches and their LTP Administrator to a National Learn to Play seminar that will be held over two days.
- Upon request, each club or facility that operates a LTP program should provide a record of the number of sessions, number of participants and number of participants who progress into a local club structure.
Jim Anderson, vice-chairman of IHUK, said: “We are thrilled to be able to give youngsters a chance to play ice hockey.
“This is a very important program for Ice Hockey UK and it will build the teams of the future.
“We are very pleased the IIHF accepted our development strategy, which enabled us to receive a large amount of equipment for the Learn to Play program.
“This is a long-term vision to introduce more youngsters into the sport, enabling us to work with them from a young age.”
The GB U18s spent today’s rest day at the Under-18 World Championship (Division 2A) teaching youngsters from local schools in Dumfries how to skate.
Scott McMeeken, IHUK’s Learn to Play instructor, said: “A lot of these kids have been to see the World Championship this week and have been inspired to come here today.
“It is all about kids coming in and enjoying it. I would like to thank the GB players for buying into the program to teach the kids here.
“We know the next group of players are the five, six, seven, eight year olds and that’s what we have on the ice today.”
Under-18s captain, Lewis Hook, said: “It was awesome to get on the ice and remember how it was for us when we started off.
“The kids loved being on the ice and it was great to see them smiling and enjoying it.
“I learnt back in Peterborough, people like David Clarke and Craig Peacock helped me out so much. I hope we can help inspire a new generation of ice hockey players.”
GB forward, 15-year-old Sam Duggan, added: “It was great being out there with them.
“We were teaching them lots and I think they most enjoyed being taught how to celebrate a goal!
“This program is huge. The sport isn’t the biggest in the country, so we need to get it as widely known as possible.
“It’s a great game. Anyone who wants to watch ice hockey should go and watch. It is a fast and fun sport – as many kids as we can get involved the better.”