The Penguins really are a great organization to the Pittsburgh community at large. In addition to their Little Penguins Learn To Play Hockey ice program, this summer they have added Little Penguins Learn to Play Dek Hockey. The ice hockey program is about to enter its fifth season of outfitting roughly 1,000 local children per season for ice hockey absolutely free of charge.
I was so excited when I saw the Pens tweet that they were starting the dek hockey program. I signed my son up within minutes of the tweet, excited for the opportunity for him to try something new for the summer and to have another chance to play with kids his age while being active.
He is attending the six-week program out of South Hills Dek Hockey. The children range from ages 4-9 and were outfitted with:
Learn to Play Dek Hockey Pens T-Shirt
Stick cut to their specific height
(All equipment is by Mylec)
Today the kids were introduced to day one of their lessons- in the pouring rain. Kids didn’t care. Parents didn’t care. Coaches didn’t care. (Dey don care.)
The dek was set up into 3 stations. One focused on stick/puck handling drills and helping the kids carry the puck around cones. The next station helped the kids with faces offs and basically just scrimmaging. The third worked on shooting drills.
The kids were divided up into groups of roughly 5-8 kids with 2-3 coaches working with each group of kids. This was a far cry from the Hockey School that he participated in in the late winter where 20-25 kids had 2 coaches teaching them (and some weeks, only 1 coach). The amount of individual attention that the coaches gave the kids today was fantastic. When a child couldn’t do something correctly, a coach would take them aside and work with them until they got it right, rather than just letting them continue without mastering the skill.
In an absolutely torrential and steady downpour of rain, the kids worked for the full hour. Parents stood around, some under the tent that was set up, but most under umbrellas at the glass, or simply in the rain.
One thing the coaches suggested since a lot of kids were having issues with the gloves due to their size was for us to get batting gloves. Jordan’s gloves kept coming off, so a trip to Dick’s is probably on our schedule for tomorrow. He actually ended up changing into his gloves from ice hockey halfway through the lesson.
Also, kiddo has so much hair it was all in his eyes under his helmet. I pulled a bobby pin out of my own hair and pinned back the front of his hair under the helmet. I had to get creative in a pinch. Next week, I’ll put a bandana or something on under the helmet.
This was a great group of parents. Very friendly, social, jeans and t-shirt kinda crowd. I think this is going to be a great experience for Jordan. The coaches seem dedicated, knowledgeable, and patient. To stand out in the rain for an hour, soaked to the bone with kids and not display one ounce of annoyance is to be commended. They could have cancelled or postponed. The dek drained and I think I only saw maybe 2 kids fall the whole time they were out there, so they were certainly safe.
I could not be more happy with what I saw today. This should be a rewarding experience for the summer for Jordan to learn something new, make some friends, and stay active!
And mom bought a new stick to play street hockey with him at home.