A group of kids got the chance to hit the ice with the pros this weekend at the Bend Pavilion.
5 to 9-year-olds were invited for a hockey clinic run by the Portland Winterhawks on Sunday.
“The first thing we’re doing for those kids who have never been on the ice or in gear before is we’re doing a very basic intro to skating, teaching them first how to fall and then how to get back up,” said Andy Potter, the Oregon Coaching Chief for the Junior Winterhawks. “Some of them have learned that in our basic skating class, but now they have this stick in their hand and it kind of gets in the way sometimes. So we’ll teach them the fall, how to get up, the basic skating, basic stopping, and then some basic puck-handling skills. And for those new kids, if they can get through all that an hour, that’s fantastic.”
It’s the second year the Winterhawks have come to Bend for spring break clinics, and they plan to come back again next year.
Potter said seeing the kids experience success on the ice is a big reason he and his colleagues do what they do.
“To just see these kids kind of take that passion and get that love of the game,” he said. “It’s that first time they hit a good shot, first time they make a good pass. The first time they do a good stop. That can be all it takes to kind of make them a lifelong hockey player. And that’s ultimately, at the end of the day, what we want everyone to be is a lifelong hockey player.”