Saturdays @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Tuesdays @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Ages: 5-8 years old (Jackrabbits)
Ages: 9–11 years old (Jackrabbit Juniors)
What to Expect at Jackrabbit
Jackrabbits is an outdoor hockey program designed to teach hockey skills in a fun and encouraging environment. Each week we begin with 5 – 15 minutes of free time, then we gather for the team cheer and opening announcements. Next we do some full ice drills with the whole group. Then, we divide the ice into three and break into small groups based on age/ability. Please re-direct your child to the correct small group if you feel they are in the wrong group. The last half of Jackrabbits is spent playing “shinny” hockey in the small groups. Score is not kept. In the early weeks, we will spend more time in the games – gradually increasing the time in drills as the weeks go on.
Jackrabbits will be held on Tuesdays from 6:00-7:15 and Saturdays from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm at the R.A. Steen Community Centre. The program runs from early December to mid-March (assuming outdoor ice conditions prevail).
Jackrabbit is rarely cancelled. During very cold weather more frequent warm-up breaks will be taken.
Dressing Room Area
Please use the dressing rooms in the basement of the community centre. Please help your children up and down the stairs!
All Jerseys must be washed and returned at the end of the season.
All participants must have skates, a hockey helmet with full cage and a hockey stick. Please label your child’s hockey stick in large letters as the children often do skating-only activities and then have to find their stick in a pile of others. All other equipment is optional, however, elbow pads, shin pads and hockey gloves or strong mitts are recommended. This equipment provides safety for the child and cushions the blow of falling to the ice. Each child will receive a R.A. Steen hockey jersey; it must be washed and returned at the end of the season.
Each week we begin with 15 minutes of free time, then we gather for the team cheer and opening announcements. Next we do some full ice drills with the whole group. Then, we divide the ice into three and break into small groups based on age/ability. Please re-direct your child to the correct small group if you feel they are in the wrong group. The last half of Jackrabbits is spent playing “shinny” hockey in the small groups. Score is not kept. In the early weeks, we will spend more time in the games – gradually increasing the time in drills as the weeks go on.
Role of Parents
Each child is required to have a parent or guardian who will be responsible for them on site at all times. Children may often leave the ice surface, and need a parent or guardian to warm cold feet, tighten a skate, adjust equipment or wipe a nose. The coaches are busy and are not able to attend to the children off the ice surface.
On-ice parent participation is encouraged. Coaches will ask parents for assistance with running drills and setting up pylons – so please help. Children love to hear their name called, so cheer on your child and all of the children.
We are looking for volunteers to assist in the following areas:
· Official Jackrabbit photographer
· Assistant coaches for Jackrabbit program
· Co-Hockey Convenor for the Community Centre
Your contact information which you provide at registration may be used by the R.A. Steen Community Centre for the purposes of soliciting volunteer support for Centre activities. This information is not shared with any other parties.
· Proper fitting and snugly-tied skates are critical. Skates that are too loose make skating difficult and frustrating. Skates that are too tight are uncomfortable and lead to cold feet – very quickly. Your child may require a smaller skate size than their shoe size. Staff at sporting goods stores can assist you in measuring and sizing your child’s skates.
· Skates should be properly sharpened. A sharp blade edge prevents the blade from slipping, and in general facilitates skating. One way to test if a skate is sharp is to use your fingernail as an ice surface. If the edge of the blade does not scratch your fingernail, it’s time for a sharpening.
· Proper fitting helmets are also important. Helmets may need tightening or loosening depending if a toque, etc is being worn underneath. Best to do this before you come to the rink.
· A good rule of thumb for length of a hockey stick is as follows: if the child is not wearing skates or shoes, the top of the stick should touch the nose when resting vertically – if the child is wearing skates, the stick should touch the chin. A slightly longer stick is acceptable, especially for beginner players.
· Hockey tape? Hockey tape protects the wooden blade and helps the stick to last longer. Black or white tape? Some shooters believe black tape camouflages the puck and makes it harder for the goalie to see. White tape will leave fewer marks on the basement floor!
· There are many places to get less expensive, used equipment. Check the classifieds, Buy & Sell, and the various used sporting goods stores (see Sporting Goods in the Yellow Pages).
Keeping Your Child Warm on the Ice
Once a child gets cold, they’re not having fun. Three areas that need special attention are the head, fingers and toes. The best bet for keeping the face and ears warm is a balaclava. Be sure to loosen the helmet to accommodate the balaclava. Hockey gloves are the best bet for hockey, but not the warmest. On cold days, a warm pair of mitts (not gloves) works best. Be sure the mitts have a tough outer layer. It is not easy to keep the toes warm. It is important that the skates are not on too tight (often happens if you put on thick or second pairs of socks). One idea that works well is to wrap a sock around the outside of the skate near the toe and wrap it with hockey or sock tape.
Keeping Your Child Interested
For beginner skaters, you (the parent) will be the child’s best motivator. This means lots of praise and encouragement, and maybe some push, pull or dragging. Let your child know they are doing well. Keep it fun. If the child wants to go home after ten minutes, fine. Bring them back next week. Kids love a trip to the canteen for a post-hockey treat. Bring along water, juice, or hot chocolate if you think your child might get thirsty.