I was always a bit of a tomboy as a child, so playing different sports was a big part of my childhood. Swimming lessons, gymnastics, baseball…if I was moving around, I was a happy girl. Now that my boys are getting older, I know that sports are going to become an even bigger part of their lives simply because there are so many different organized sports for kids available today.
While some of the kids that are in Zackary’s class have been in skates since they were old enough to walk and swinging hockey sticks as soon as they could hold them, Zackary doesn’t play hockey. He has taken a few skating lessons but still isn’t especially strong on the ice. And I wasn’t overly concerned about having him play hockey on a team if he’d rather do something else instead. Not only is hockey a huge commitment of time and money, but often there also seems to be far too much pressure on the children playing to win.
So when Zackary and I were invited to Calgary to learn about the Chevrolet Safe & Fun Hockey Program at the Chevrolet Hockey Helmet Academy, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We were both beginners in the world of hockey and while I knew that Chevrolet Canada had been providing free helmets to hockey players for three years now to ensure that kids were playing safe, that was the extent of my knowledge about the program. The reality of what the Chevrolet Safe & Fun Hockey Program does for kids was so much more than I had expected.
We started out with a professional hockey helmet fitting courtesy of Hockey Canada. Zackary was pretty interested in the process and I have to admit, I was too. Laurie from Hockey Canada checked the size of the helmet, adjusted the screws and then checked the fit again to ensure that the helmet was comfortable while still protecting my son’s head. Then it was off for a quick presentation from concussion expert Dr. Charles Tator and two-time Olympic Gold medalist Cassie Campbell-Pascall before we hit the ice!
I loved seeing how much emphasis the Chevrolet Hockey Helmet Academy put on safety and the presentation from Dr. Tator was so informative. The good doctor even had a “brain” ready to pass around to show the kids how easily a brain can be damaged. Zackary was pretty nervous about touching it until the woman holding it whispered to him that it was just raspberry Jell-O!
But I had already known that safety was something Chevrolet Canada was passionate about. What I hadn’t expected was how focused on fun the program was as well. As soon as Cassie Campbell-Pascall started talking, I realized that hockey wasn’t necessarily the immensely time-consuming and competitive sport I had pictured. In fact, Cassie told the story of how she almost quit playing hockey completely in university because of the negative team coach, illustrating how just one person can make a huge difference in a child’s experience playing a sport. Cassie is passionate about hockey being fun and after hearing how Chevrolet Canada is committed to making hockey not just safe, but also positive and empowering for children, I couldn’t wait to get out on the ice!
Zackary was not only new to hockey, he was essentially new to skating as well. A few falls and a few tears led to a one-on-one tutorial with Cassie, and after some tips from an Olympian, he was gliding around like he’d been practicing for a week! Best of all, he had a huge grin on his face and tons of energy when he hopped up to his feet after a fall. That’s the kind of hockey that I want my son playing!
I am so happy to have been able to see for myself the work that Chevrolet Canada does through the Chevrolet Hockey Helmet Academy and the Chevrolet Safe & Fun Hockey Program. The fact that the company supports safety is always paramount in my mind as a parent, but that they also support positivity, good sportsmanship and fun just increases the value of this program even more to me.
Whether you have a child like mine that is just learning how to glide across the ice or one that’s been playing hockey for years, the Chevrolet Safe & Fun Hockey Program is helping to ensure that when they head to the rink, they’ll be protected and have a great time. And experiencing that positive attitude and passion for the safety of children firsthand may just end up turning me into a Hockey Mom one day after all!