After a winter with no minor hockey, the community of Grunthal has shown up this season to support young players who are eager to be on the ice.
With the return of minor hockey, Rick Neufeld says enough volunteers have come together to make sure the Wednesday morning breakfast club also continues.
The morning begins with getting kids on the ice for some extra skill development.
Neufeld says U9 to U15 hockey players get to the rink, bright and early, for drills and scrimmage. The players are split into two groups: the older kids on one side of the ice with the younger ones on the other side.
Volunteers run through drills with each age group.
“And halfway through, we scrimmage for half an hour, taking turns,” Neufeld says. “Young kids for two minutes, older kids for two minutes. And we just have an incredible time on the ice, developing skills and friendships and relationships. It's just a wonderful time.”
When the players get off the ice, it’s time to eat.
“The kids all go for a quick breakfast around 8:30 and just in time to walk over to school on time,” he says. “It's just an awesome community program that we're doing, and we really, really enjoy it.”
Neufeld says the kids love breakfast club and it is great to see the community support, making sure this program continues.
“We all show up, nobody has to have a big role, we all just show up,” he says, talking about the many people who come together and make this all happen, every week.
This program also attracts local players who are now in higher levels of hockey. Neufeld says he gets requests from more experienced hockey players to be able to join breakfast club and spend time teaching the younger athletes.
“The kids love it,” he says.
The breakfast program receives great support from many people, Neufeld adds. Whether it is to volunteer time or donate food, Neufeld says the breakfast club is a community effort.
-With files from Carly Koop.