From the ice to the pavement

May 23, 2019 10:18 am by TNYF Staff Dynamic Featured Image

Taking what they learned on the ice, middle school students with the St. James-Assiniboia Hockey Academy (SJAHA) hit the pavement at Keith Bodley Arena May 3 for a floorball tournament to wrap up their season spent on the ice.

The Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy (WJHA) partners with SJAHA to continue connections with the students as they progress toward graduation. The partnership also allows students to earn a high school credit through the hockey academy for their participation.

Corey Coker, Manager of the WJHA, says the event is a great way to practice hockey without all the equipment and a day where the kids get to have a lot of fun.

“Floorball is a great game you can play year-round and it works really well to develop your
on-ice skills. The kids are having fun and without really realizing it, they’re getting better at hockey,” he says.

The floorball rink is smaller and the rules are slightly different but the goal remains the same: work together to succeed.

Ivan, a Grade 8 student at Chief Peguis Junior High School, enjoys floorball because it offers more of a level playing field.

“Everyone develops at hockey differently. Some kids are great skaters but struggle with passing and some are the opposite. What’s nice about floorball is we can all run and without all the equipment I think it’s easier for a lot of kids.”

Jordan Sobkowicz teaches in the St. James-Assiniboia School Division and helps coach students in SJAHA and agrees that floorball does a great job of supplementing the students’ hockey training.

“We find that when you take away the bulky equipment and the skates, the sport is very similar. You get to practice a lot of your stickhandling skills and that transfers onto the ice,” he says.

Sobkowicz, who also coaches Team Canada Men’s U-19 National Floorball team, says floorball is big in Europe and growing in popularity in Canada and he credits that to programs like the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy promoting the game.

“There are floorball leagues in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and we can see today how popular the sport is here in Winnipeg. It’s a great alternative for the hockey academy students and the kids have a lot of fun.”

Coker says the event brings a lot of different schools together, allows the kids to show off the skills they’ve developed throughout the year and hopefully make some new friends.