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Skating pilot project launched in Ochapowace First Nation

Ochapowace First Nation -

A pilot program for learning how to skate and trying out different Skate Canada programs was launched on the Ochapowace First Nation on Friday.

The program aims to ensure skating is accessible to everyone, especially Indigenous communities.

Students from Kakisiwew School participated in the event, learned the basics of skating, and developed their skills further, by working with coaches from Skate Saskatchewan.

Rhonda Mcalpine-Haubrich, regional coordinator for Skate Canada Saskatchewan, spoke about how the idea for the project came to light, and why the organization chose Ochapowace First Nation to be the pilot community.

“It was sort of organic, Neil Tymoruski who is a program director wanted to do this, and Rhys Mcalpine, who has a club out here, was wanting to get someone from Skate Saskatchewan out here,” said Mcalpine-Haubrich.

“This was a great opportunity for Skate Saskatchewan to come into an Indigenous community and show what Skate Canada has to offer, and to make sure Indigenous communities feel welcome.”

Coach Rhy Mcalpine from Cowessess First Nation, said the program has the potential to benefit many children.

“We’re hoping from these programs that the community sees the benefit to having these programs in their community,” said Mcalpine.

“Learning how to skate is essential, especially when parents want their kids to go into ice sports, learning how to skate at a young age is going to help them go into whatever sport they choose to.”

Depending how well-received the pilot project goes, Skate Saskatchewan is hoping to partner with other First Nation communities in the future to help make sure all kids get the opportunity to skate.

“Our ultimate goal is if we can try to reach to these other communities and provide them with information, to give them assistance that they need, then coaches in all rural parts of Saskatchewan, I think, will be willing to help,” said Garrett Gosselin, Coach of Skate Saskatchewan.

“It’s just about getting the ball rolling and that’s what we’re doing here today.” Top Stories

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