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True North partners with Scotiabank to rename four-rink multiplex ‘hockey for all centre’ Scotiabank enhances commitment to diversity and inclusion in the game with focused programming for new Canadians

True North Sports + Entertainment and Scotiabank are proud to announce a new partnership that will see True North’s four-rink multiplex located just outside Winnipeg’s west Perimeter Highway renamed to hockey for all centre, effective today – Nov. 14, 2022. Scotiabank launched the hockey for all platform in 2021 as a multi-year commitment to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion in the game by breaking down cultural and financial barriers. hockey for all centre will be an inclusive and accessible facility, with programs for underserved communities, including free Learn to Play programs, subsidized equipment opportunities, and signage updates throughout the venue.

Download images: https://winnipegjets.sharefile.com/d-s1bc442a7d512445182103a8b373ef2b0

Since opening in August 2010, True North’s multiplex facility has been Manitoba’s community hockey home – a cornerstone of ice sports in Winnipeg that supports all levels of youth hockey programming. The facility provides over 11,000 hours of ice time annually for a variety of programs, community play, teams, leagues, and tournaments that allow all members of the community to participate in the sport. All youth involved in minor hockey at any level visit hockey for all centre at least once each hockey season, adding to the more than 500,000 players and spectators that enter the facility each year.

Programs include Jets Hockey Development – which seeks to provide professional hockey development for players of all ages and skill levels, from beginner to NHL and Olympic athletes, along with ringette programming, and the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy (WJHA) – a True North Youth Foundation play-based program that uses hockey to help underserved youth learn the values of team play and excel in school.

In partnership with Jets Hockey Development, Scotiabank will provide funding for a new Learn to Play program dedicated to introducing young new Canadians to the game, and to increasing diversity in the sport. More than 100 children will be able to take part in this free programming each year, with three multi-week sessions held throughout the year. hockey for all centre will work with local newcomer and cultural organizations to promote and facilitate participation. All participants will receive equipment courtesy of Scotiabank that they will be able to keep, encouraging their continued participation in the game.

“Sport is a powerful tool that not only brings the community together, but creates community,” said Dwayne Green, Executive Director of the True North Youth Foundation. “Every day through our Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy, we see the positive impacts of hockey on youth, and especially how hockey can build that sense of belonging that is so important for new Canadian families to feel at home in their new country.”

hockey for all centre will continue to be the site of Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest events in Winnipeg. Girls HockeyFest is a free event for girls aged 7-16 that aims to advance the game for young athletes with both on-ice and off-ice comprehensive training sessions. Since 2006, Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest has helped elevate the game of more than 16,000 young female athletes across Canada.

“When we launched hockey for all in 2021, we made a commitment to making impactful change and eliminate barriers to make Canada’s game more inclusive,” said Laura Curtis Ferrera, Chief Marketing Officer, Scotiabank. “hockey for all centre is an important step forward in this commitment, as an accessible and inclusive place for the community to enjoy. We are very proud to partner with True North Sports + Entertainment to make this facility and its programming possible.”

 

Along with being the official practice facility of the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose, several Junior, Minor, Senior and high school hockey teams including the Winnipeg Freeze, Balmoral Hall Blazers, St. Paul’s Crusaders, St. Mary’s Academy Flames, and more call the facility home. hockey for all centre is the home of the Manitoba Women’s Junior Hockey League – the only junior hockey program for females in Manitoba – and, as one of the only fully accessible sledge hockey arenas in the province, it’s also the home of Sledge Hockey Manitoba. The Winnipeg Jets Challenge Cup – a premier tournament hosted at hockey for all centre for the past 12 years – will introduce a sledge hockey exhibition game during its 2022 tournament to bring more awareness to the sport. The 17 Wing Military Hockey League plays out of hockey for all centre, and it is also a premier facility of the Winnipeg Rec Hockey League.

As the prime destination for hockey enthusiasts, many tournaments for all ages and skill levels are hosted at hockey for all centre each year, including the Winnipeg Jets AAA Classic, Winnipeg Jets AA Showdown, Winnipeg Jets Challenge Cup, All Girls Spring Classic, Female World Sports School Challenge, and the Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Education Centre (MICEC) Annual Indigenous Minor Hockey Tournament – Manitoba’s largest First Nation tournament, and many more.

With a focus on growing the game among females, the facility has been a partner in the Winnipeg Jets Gender Equality Month initiatives, hosting free presentations and skills sessions to expose more young girls to the game. In 2022, the facility hosted its first-ever all-female goalie camp with head instructor 2022 Olympic Gold Medalist Kristen Campbell.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Scotiabank, an organization that shares our passion for the game and puts significant effort into ensuring hockey is welcoming for everyone,” said hockey for all centre General Manager David Sattler. “We’re equally proud to wear our heart on our sleeve with a facility name that reflects our values and showcases a shared commitment to diversity and access to Canada’s favourite sport. hockey for all centre has been, and will continue to be, just that: a place where everyone can enjoy the competition, exercise, and community that hockey brings.”

 

As programming continues to grow and diversify, hockey for all centre also looks forward to welcoming participants and spectators from around the world as the host venue for the sport of hockey for the 2023 World Police and Firefighter Games – the second largest sporting event in the world, second only to the Summer Olympics.

Our True North: 2021-22 Report to the Community

Thank you to all our fans and the community for joining us in making the efforts and impacts of the past season possible. We were excited to reengage with our fans and our community in 2021-22, both on and off the ice, and return to many favourite initiatives and events that have been missed over the past two years. We invite you to reflect on some of the highlights with us, both as a reminder of what we were able to accomplish together over the past year, and as we look forward to the return of many of these initiatives, and another exciting and impactful season in 2022-23.

Click on the images that light up blue throughout the report to watch the video highlights.

One Leg at A Time

A good strength and conditioning program should increase strength, power, speed, mobility, stability, address deficiencies, and correct imbalances. While this appears to be a tall order, it becomes significantly easier to check all these boxes if we include an adequate amount of single leg training in our program. Single leg training addresses all of those needs, and should be a foundational piece of your training program. Here is an example of what it looks like in the first phase of an off-season training program for a hockey player here at Focus Fitness:

A1 Single Leg Balance with Stick Shift x 30 seconds/side
A2 Mini Band Shuffle x 15 reps/side
A3 Single Leg Altitude Landing x 3 reps/side

  • 30 seconds of rest between exercises
  • 60 seconds of rest between sets
  • complete 3 sets

B1 Single Leg Skater Squat x 6 reps/side
B2 Single Leg DB/KB RDL x 8 reps/side

  • 30 seconds of rest between exercises
  • 90 seconds of rest between sets
  • complete 3 sets

C1 Single Leg TRX Cross Under Squat x 6 reps/side
C2 Single Leg Hip Lift (shoulders elevated) x 10 reps/side

  • 30 seconds of rest between exercises
  • 90 seconds of rest between sets
  • complete 3 sets

D RFE Split Squat Iso Holds x 30 sec/side

  • 2 minutes of rest between sets
  • complete 3 sets

If these exercises or terminology are new to you, simply scan the QR code and you can watch a video on how to perform the exercises correctly. Remember to always include single leg work in your hockey strength training.

Until next time,

Strength, Courage, Hustle, Commitment

AJ Zeglen

 

This article was originally published in Game On – Manitoba’s hockey community magazine.

Iceplex 3v3 Grassroots program keeps the fun in development for U7 and U9 kids

Every hockey player starts their development somewhere. In Winnipeg, there’s no better place to start than with the Jets Hockey Development (JHD) 3v3 Grassroots Hockey program at hockey for all centre.

The program, which includes U7 and U9 categories and runs on Sunday afternoons from October to December, is the perfect place for girls and boys of all skill levels to improve their game in a fun-filled atmosphere.

That was the case for young hockey player Raeleigh. When she started in the program, she could barely skate. But the experienced coaches gave her everything she needed to improve – including some encouragement.

“Raeleigh went into this program unsure and even wanted to quit after the first practice, but the coach went over and assured her she would love it if she continued, and he did not fail to deliver,” said Jennifer Wityshyn, Raeleigh’s mother. “Raeleigh ended the program with such confidence in herself. We couldn’t have asked for more. She went from barely being able to skate with a hockey stick to being able to puck handle, and her skating skills greatly improved.”

That’s what the program is all about to Dean Court, Business/Amateur Hockey Development & Manager of Team Programs for JHD. It’s a place where any kid can be involved, no matter what their on-ice skills are, and it’s a place where all of them will get better.

“We’re not coaching these kids with the purpose of winning, we’re coaching with the purpose of developing,” said Court. “Our goal is to build players’ confidence and abilities so that they can have fun at whatever level they’re at.”

That’s all done through a focus on individual development and ensuring everyone gets plenty of reps in each drill. With a maximum of 24 kids on the ice for a session, each practice sees the ice divided into three sections – one section to work on skating, one section to work on skill development, and one for a game.

“You get everything in one session,” noted Court. “That’s key for kids at this age. They’re getting to work on their skills every week, but we also want them to have fun along the way, so we make sure they all get to try out their skills in a game atmosphere too. We even bring Mick E. Moose onto the ice occasionally for some added excitement.”

For Wityshyn, that element of fun was the difference maker for her daughter in growing her self-belief on skates.

“The instructors went above and beyond to make sure Raeleigh was comfortable and having fun. Watching her confidence grow was something we will never be able to thank the program enough for.”

As fun as it is for the kids to grow their game and become better hockey players, the coaches – including Court – have just as much fun guiding them.

“This program is the most fun coaching that I do,” said Court. “The kids have such a pure love of the game and show so much excitement in every small development step they make. It’s a joy to give them the tools to go where they want in hockey.”

Junior hockey requires major commitment

Seemingly every hockey-loving Canadian kid dreams of making the NHL someday. Such an accomplishment doesn’t just happen, of course. You must work your way up from one level to the next until you finally reach that pinnacle, meaning that while those players keep that pro hockey goal in mind throughout their journey, they’re also working toward just making it to the next level.

That’s particularly true of players seeking to make it to the Junior level, and it’s the goal of the Jets Hockey Development (JHD) team at hockey for all centre to help as many players as possible make that jump through their Junior Prospects Program.

“The program is important because it starts to put like-minded players together who are all chasing the same goals,” said JHD’s Head On-Ice Instructor & Program Manager Dave Cameron of the Junior Prospects Program. “That’s a strong motivating factor when we look at it from a coaching perspective. There are no headaches, there are no questions – they’re all just trying to get to the Junior level. We know exactly where we want to start, and where we want to finish.”

Making the Junior level takes a lot of time and effort, and players hoping to make the jump really need to want it. Cameron doesn’t hesitate to make that clear to all the athletes who train with them in the Junior Prospects Program, as he did last summer for defenceman Sully Ross.

“During the camp, Dave challenged me by asking if I wanted to play Junior A or if I wanted to stick in AAA,” recalled Ross. “I came back the next skate and told him I would like to be a Junior player, and he said, ‘Would you like to be a Junior player, or do you want to be a Junior player?’ That really opened my eyes to wanting to be a Junior player. Ever since then, our connection and the way he pushes me has been brought up to a new level.”

The challenge worked, as Ross went on to play for the Winkler Flyers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) for the 2021-22 season, where he plans to return for the upcoming season as well.

There was, of course, much more than just ‘wanting’ to be a Junior player involved in taking that step. But the hard work started with that drive and desire and is what fuelled Ross to improve his game to the Junior level.

With JHD’s strong emphasis on individual skill development, Ross noted key developments in his game in perhaps the most important skill in today’s game – skating. For him, the way the coaches teach the skating fundamentals helped him keep up with the speedy Junior pace.

“It definitely helped with how they break down their skills into forward strides, the technique in your stride, and your turning and backwards skating. They push you to become better and give you feedback and teach you along the way as you’re learning new skills. That really helped bring everything into game situations and bringing it up to game speed.”

Even with a strong desire to make that big step to Junior hockey, Cameron notes that it’s common to have players participate in the Junior Prospects Program for more than one summer. That’s not to say some players haven’t been able to make the jump after one run of the program.

One such player is Carson Buydens, who starred for the Virden Oil Capitals of the MJHL in 2021-22. Though he was able to crack the team’s lineup, he still certainly found some challenges with the junior game.

“Everyone is bigger and stronger in junior,” noted Buydens. “You’re suddenly playing against 19 and 20-year-olds, so just working on things like puck protection and getting stronger on the ice is important. The Junior Prospects Program helped me gain confidence in those areas.”

That confidence showed, as Buydens did much more than just make the team. The centreman posted 27 goals and 53 points in 54 games during the regular season, leading all MJHL rookies in points, goals, powerplay goals, and game-winning goals, while placing second among rookies for points per game.

Clearly the work on skills like puck protection worked for him, which is why JHD puts such an emphasis on it at this level.

“At the NHL level, if a player puts the puck in the wrong spot, it’s gone,” said Cameron. “What we try to focus on is where a player’s weight is, where their body is, and where the puck is. Whatever they’re doing – whether they’re getting ready to shoot or ready to pass – the puck should always be in a protected position.”

The most important skill to possess at that age, though, is the willingness to learn and adapt. Cameron and his fellow JHD coaches see that in the players who join the program no matter what skill they’re working on.

“When players come with the right mindset to focus on themselves, it’s fun for us as coaches because we just get to communicate with them and give them the information that allows for changes. But they’re also open to correction. These guys all signed up for the program and recognize there are things they need to get better at.”

Do you want to be a Junior hockey player? Take your game to the next level by signing up for the Junior Prospects Program, or any other age or skill-appropriate program for you at BellMTSIceplex.ca/JetsHockeyDevelopment.

 

This article was originally published in Game On – Manitoba’s hockey community magazine. 

Photos courtesy of Jonathan Kozub/Point Shot Photography.