Students in the Lloydminster Public School Division got a long-awaited return to the rink, as the Hockey Academy has begun play again.
While they were back on the ice, play looks somewhat different due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions. Players are moved to the Servus Sports Centre in cohorts only a child’s classroom, which they stay in while changing into gear and going to and from the ice. They’re also going smaller classes at a time, which is so that they can promote physical distancing.
LPSD Hockey Academy Director Lance Ward says their plan was worked out on several levels, with input from the Servus Sports Centre, schools and the division, with safety in mind.
“With all of the rules and guidelines around sports and education right now, this has kind of been a teeter-totter, or tightrope of balancing guidelines and safety precautions and trying to enable [for] these athletic students the opportunity to get back to one of their passions.”
As these guidelines continue, the focus has been on individual skills training. This can include skating, stick-handling and goaltending, among others. Even with the smaller classes, Ward explains, students with a passion for hockey still look forward to it, and they’ve seen it have positive impacts on other aspects of their academics.
“They seem to be better, more motivated at school when they know that the academy is at the end of the day and they’ve got an opportunity to do what they really want.”
The LPSD Hockey Academy, now in its eleventh year, replaces instructional time typically received for physical education and health. It’s open for students starting in Grade Four.