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Host a 2023-24 First Shift Program in Your Association

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 02/15/23, 12:15PM EST


Applications now open - Program ensures a positive experience for new-to-hockey families

The application period for Associations wishing to host the NHL/NHLPA First Shift in 2023-24 is NOW OPEN! Applications are open until March 15, 2023.

A truly unique experience designed to help kids fall in love with hockey, the six-week learn to play program continues to focus on having fun while learning basic skills. Full head-to-toe equipment is included with registration. 

The NHL/NHLPA First Shift mission is to change the way hockey is offered, to inspire new families to join our community and enroll their kids in our sport. Because of the program’s belief in all that hockey has to offer kids, their families and our communities, the NHL/NHLPA First Shift was designed to make hockey accessible, affordable, safe and most importantly, fun! 

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.

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.

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 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.

The First Shift is a flexible program offering to suit your Association's and community needs:

  • Support with logistics, shipments and equipment.
  • Interactive website contains all the information and dates regarding the program.
  • Hockey Canada support for any questions related to hosting, insurance, on-ice curriculum and next steps into minor hockey.
  • Equipment package for your coaches.
  • Online management portal, enabling hosts to view all aspects of their program and registration in real time.
  • NHL club support may include; alumni participation, building use, mascot participation and limited gifting.
  • Insurance for participants and coaches

Since 2014, over 45,000 skaters have enrolled in the First Shift. 100% of families surveyed would recommend the program to a friend, and 100% of Associations would recommend the program to increase membership.

The NHL/NHLPA First Shift partners are committed to ensuring the program and the sport of hockey welcomes participants, no matter the race, gender, religion, ability, or sexual orientation. A more inclusive future creates avenues for new players across all backgrounds the chance to inspire the next generations on and off the ice. We believe diversity makes us all stronger and want to ensure opportunities are available for everyone to be welcomed into the hockey community.

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