A partnership between Near North District School Board (NNDSB), Hockey Canada and the Townships of Parry Sound and Seguin will enable students in Grades 8-12 at Parry Sound High School (PSHS) to earn credits while building their hockey skills and confidence.
The program will launch in September 2022 and run for the first semester only (September through January) at the Bobby Orr Community Centre in Parry Sound and in the second semester only at Humphrey Arena (the program in second semester will also be open to Grade 8 students at Humphrey Public School).
The program delivery will be provided by PSHS teacher AJ Wheaton, who is a qualified Hockey Canada Skills instructor. Students will be able to work towards a high school credit and a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) pathway in health and wellness
“We look forward to providing this innovative programming for our students that will improve their learning experience, student success and student engagement,” says Dawn Buckland, principal of PSHS.
Participants in the program will do their off-ice learning at PSHS as part of a physical education credit and the hockey skills curriculum from Hockey Canada, then apply those skills on the ice at the arenas. Students will spend time on specific skills areas like skating, shooting, passing and goaltending. They will also develop essential life skills such as learning about balanced nutrition and mental health. Students will have an opportunity to experience the game of hockey in a non-competitive environment that focuses on a holistic approach to health, wellness and skill-building.
NNDSB Director of Education Craig Myles has been instrumental in seeking out opportunities for the board to provide innovative programming. “It’s imperative that NNDSB meets the needs of our communities, while providing innovative programming that engages students. The Hockey Canada partnership is a great opportunity for our students to build their skills and learn about health and wellness. Sport provides the opportunity for people to develop in a multitude of ways, and this partnership will enable students to develop many essential life skills.”
Board Chair Jay Aspin says the partnership embodies the board’s commitment to Excellence in Relationships and Excellence in Teaching and Learning. “Staff continue to create partnerships that offer NNDSB students the best opportunities for learning. There are many ways to teach about health and wellness, and the Hockey Canada partnership is just one way NNDSB is transforming educational experiences in tandem with Canada’s game.”
Manager of Parks and Recreation for the Town of Parry Sound, April McNamara, says, “I thank NNDSB for bringing an exciting program to the youth of Parry Sound. There are so many benefits to bringing youth together on the ice.”
Seguin Township Manager of Community Services Dominique O’Brien says staying active is fundamental to support youth mental and physical health. “We are so pleased that Hockey Skills Canada is making this program accessible to Seguin kids. The Township looks forward to welcoming the organization to our arena this winter.”
Anyone interested in more information should contact Principal Dawn Buckland at Parry Sound High School, 705-773-7979.
NNDSB central program staff are also working to expand the program to other secondary and elementary schools for the 2023-2024 school year in different regions of the board. Details on the progress will be released accordingly