Kindergarten kids hit rink with Rebels
Castlegar’s bladerunners of tomorrow got some exciting ice time today as the Rebels took to the ice to share their mad skating skills with Kinnaird Kindergarten students.
Elaine Pilla is a Kindergarten teacher at Kinnaird Elementary who says she and her fellow Kindergarten teacher, Denise Jenner, combine their classes every year for three one-hour skating sessions at the Complex (provided for free by the Complex).
“For the last six years that I’ve been teaching here, the Rebels have always graciously come out on the ice with the kids,”she said, adding it’s quite the thrill for a group of star-struck five-year-olds. “The smiles on their faces tell the entire story.”
Parents and grandparents are not only welcome, but are in fact encouraged, to join in the fun, either as spectators or by strapping on skates of their own.
Koby Wilson, 5, said he had a blast skating with his mom’s boyfriend.
“Jeff pushed me around so fast, zooming so fast you couldn’t see me,” Koby said.
Not only is this fabulous bonding time and community building, Pilla said – it has important educational components as well.
“Not everyone in Kindergarten has had the opportunity to try skating,” Pilla said. “While others want to be in the NHL someday – we see the whole range.”
She said skating helps them develop physical skills like balance and coordination that will serve them well in any sport, as well as helping them build friendships and learn social skills in a new and different environment.
“We’ve always had huge support from the Rebels,”she said, adding she thinks the pro hockey players end up having as much fun as the children.
Rebels head coach and general manager Jesse Dorrans said members of the KIJHL team are regularly out-and-about in the community, helping out at events, raising funds for charity, and otherwise engaging in community-building activities.
He said it’s a good way to drum up support for the team, but also an excellent character-building exercise for his players.
“It gets lot of our guys out of their comfort zones, and teaches them how important their influence can be on younger people.”
It also, he said, is scads of fun for young men who usually have to take their ice time very seriously … a chance to skate purely for the joy of it.
“Putting smiles on the little kids’ faces always translates to smiles on the big kids’ faces, too,” he said.
Parents and grandparents still have one last chance to get in on the fun this year, as there is one last session slated for this coming Tuesday between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. at the Complex.