The Selkirk Sports School held their Christmas Classic game on Thursday, December 19, 2019, with the entire school in attendance.
The Sports School Hockey Program allows students to pursue their hockey goals and still attend school full time.
The program is open to students in grades 7 through 12, and grade 10 to 12 students also receive class credit towards graduation.
The students attend on ice sessions twice a week (once for grade 7), and also spend time in the gym.
Carson Loftsgard, Coach and Teacher at Selkirk, says that the Christmas Classic game has been taking place for many years, however this year was a little bit different compared to games in the past.
“Traditionally we have an organized scrimmage early in the morning with Sports School alumni, parent volunteers, and Kimberley Dynamiters refereeing and coaching,” Loftsgard explained. “A few months ago, Mike Gruggen, a Selkirk teacher, suggested that we have staff join the game and bring the whole school body down to the Civic to watch. The pieces just fell into place from there.
“We saw leadership from so many people outside of the players themselves including referees, score clock operators, and canteen helpers. It was very much a team effort! Another fine example of our Selkirk community banding together to put on a fun, community-building event.”
He says that the game was a success, with everyone learning and having fun.
“I would gage the success of an event like this on the amount of positive energy and joy from the students and staff,” said Loftsgard. “From my perspective, there were lots of smiles and laughs on the ice and in the stands.”
In terms of the Sports School program, Loftsgard explained that it continues to evolve and grow, giving students the opportunity to develop character.
“The Selkirk Sports School was founded by Jerry Bancks to be a character education program, as well as an elite hockey skill development program,” said Loftsgard. “I inherited the Sports School a few years ago and have done my best to make sure it maintains high standards through both of those lenses. The Sports School continues to evolve – students regularly work on developing their on-ice skills, but we have recently added small group off ice training with a strength and conditioning coach. I’d put this program up against any of the much more expensive options found in larger cities.”
Loftsgard thanked Nicole Koran for opening up the canteen for the event, and the arena staff for being so accommodating.
“I would also like to jokingly add that anyone with video evidence of the blue team’s late game-tying goal should make it public as I am sure there were seven skaters on the ice,” he said.