Kids get a taste of the game at annual I Love Hockey event

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Westlock’s newest crop of hockey players strapped on their helmets and took to the ice for Westlock Minor Hockey’s annual I Love Hockey event Sept. 30.

The Rotary Spirit Centre ice was split into three smaller rinks where roughly three dozen, four to six year olds, practiced skating, shooting and even played a game of shinny.

“I love this age, it’s so much fun to watch,” said parent Chrissy McQuade, who had three kids participating. “They don’t care if they win or lose, they just want to play with their friends.”

WMHA secretary and Initiation-level representative Keltey Buchko said the event’s purpose not only gives new skaters a taste of the game, but allows second- and third-year players a chance to knock off the summer rust.

“It looks like we’re going to have a great little crop of hockey players this year,” said Buchko.

And working with this age group is a lot of fun, said Buchko, as they’re eager to learn.

“Kids pick up on skills really easy. You’ll see kids here on the ice that won’t even be able to stand up on skates and by the end of November they are skating circles around.

“They do amazingly well and catch on really quick.”

Buchko said her eldest son Cooper first laced up his skates at an I love Hockey event five years ago.

“It was his birthday when he first started. At first he was one of those kids who could not take a single step on the ice,” she said, noting he’s now in Atom. “He loved every moment of it and has been playing ever since.”

For folks who miss the event and want to get their child into the sport, there is still time. Buchko said association will find spots for any latecomers at the Oct. 3 and Oct. 8 practices.

“We’ll make sure they get on the ice if they want to play.”

Registration for Initiation level hockey is $200 for first-year players and $225 for second- and third-year players.

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