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Host a NHL/NHLPA First Shift Program in Your Association

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 01/15/20, 12:00PM EST

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Program ensures a positive experience for new-to-hockey families

Opportunities are now available for OMHA Centres to apply to host the First Shift program during the 2020-21 season. A unique introductory program created by Bauer Hockey and Hockey Canada to get more families introduced to hockey, the NHL/NHLPA First Shift provides boys and girls ages 6-10 an opportunity to easily try hockey for $229, which includes a six-week on-ice trial, expertly fitted head-to-toe BAUER equipment, and in-depth parent education.

Following the six-week on-ice sessions, participants have the option of improving their skills via the local hockey association-managed Transition Program or in some communities, the local hockey association can place NHL/NHLPA First Shift graduates on to a minor hockey team.

The 2020-21 season will mark the seventh year of the program, which has seen more than 800 programs executed, resulting in more than 30,000 girls and boys across the country trying hockey for the first time. Local hockey associations are encouraged to review the application criteria and submit an online application if they wish to be selected as a host community for FALL 2020, WINTER 2021 and new this upcoming season, SPRING 2021.

The registration fee for each participant includes:

  • a Welcome Event – information, education, and an equipment fitting session;
  • six on-ice sessions designed by Hockey Canada; and
  • a complete set of Bauer gear, including: hockey bag, helmet combo (with facemask), shoulder pads, elbow pads, neck guard, shorts with jock / jill, pants, hockey socks, shin guards, jersey, gloves, stick and skates.

For local hockey associations, the NHL/NHLPA First Shift offers:

  • The opportunity to bring new families into your hockey community and increase membership
  • As per the last two seasons, the $800 subsidies will still be available for host local hockey associations respecting the following criteria; selling more than 75% of available spots and running a Transition Program after the six week on-ice trial period.
    • Transition program registration fees are set by the local hockey associations and go towards covering ice rental fees and other associated costs.

Hockey Canada support:

  • on-ice programming
  • instructor criteria and education
  • welcome event execution support
  • on-going program support
  • a new online portal enabling the management of registrations and forms in real time
  • insurance for participants and coaches

Bauer support includes welcome Event execution, promotional program support, positive media exposure, head-to-toe equipment for participants and coach kits. There is the opportunity for NHL Club support where applicable.

Associations interested in hosting an NHL/NHLPA First Shift are encouraged to be proactive in promoting the program to ‘non hockey families’ in your community through social media, schools, community centers, with other sporting associations. All program details and criteria, as well as the application form are available at on the First Shift website. Associations have until March 16, 2020 to apply to host. Online registration for participants open on June 1, 2020.


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