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Young hockey players looking forward to their first shift

Deer Lake’s Caleb Gillard gets fitted for a hockey helmet Wednesday night in Deer Lake as a part of the Canadian Tire First Shift program
Deer Lake’s Caleb Gillard gets fitted for a hockey helmet Wednesday night in Deer Lake as a part of the Canadian Tire First Shift program - Photo by Roxanne Ryland

Caleb Gillard has tagged along for road trips all over the province watching his older siblings scoring goals and making big defensive plays. 

Claire George.
Claire George.

He has two older sisters and two older brothers who have embraced the game of hockey for years so now it’s his time to take the spotlight.

The son of Deer Lake’s Angie and Darren Gillard is one of the excited youngsters who will be participating in The First Shift hockey program being offered in Deer Lake through the sponsorship of Canadian Tire.

The program is designed to give boys and girls a chance to check out the game at an affordable price and a shorter window of instruction to see if hockey is something for them to play on a regular basis.

Caleb got outfitted with a full set of Bauer hockey equipment earlier this week as players registered for the program attended a session where all hands got a better handle on how the program will be delivered and they got personal fitting sessions with representatives of The First Shift.

Caleb is excited about being on the ice with his friends and likes the idea of being able to share the sport with not only his siblings but his parents as well.

“It makes me feel happy,” the soft-spoken seven-year-old said of being able to participate in the program with his friends.

Caleb doesn’t care if he ends up being a forward who scores goals and sets his buddies up or if he has to learn how to skate backwards and protect his goalie.

But he made it clear he doesn’t want anybody to suggest he put on goalie pads. Well, at least not at this point anyway.

“I don’t really want to be the goalie because I can get hurt,” he said.

Clara George, six-year-old daughter of Colin and April George, is one of the happy females who will be participating in The First Shift in Corner Brook.

Clara has been trying to learn how to skate for a few years and has been watching her teenage-cousins scoot around the ice so she thought it would be something she could enjoy.

She has been playing soccer for a couple of years, always looking to score goals, so she figured it would be great to find something to do for fun during the winter months.

She’s a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and her favourite player just happens to be sniper Auston Matthews so she’s already decided that she doesn’t want to be a defender on the ice.

“I want to be a forward so I can go to the net and see if I can score some goals,” she said.

Shooting around the puck with her friends with not a care in the world. It seems like a good investment of her time when meeting new people is always a priority for young minds.

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