Story by Jeff Gard

Local children aged six to 10 who have never been registered in organized minor hockey in Canada will have the opportunity early in the new year to take their first shift on the ice.

The West Northumberland Girls Hockey Association was selected as one of the hosts for the Canadian Tire First Shift Program, which is designed to break down barriers a family may face when thinking about participating in hockey, ensuring a welcoming, safe, affordable and fun experience for those new to hockey. There will be 150 First Shift programs being offered in communities across Canada.

While the WNGHA offers hockey for girls, the organization has decided to make the First Shift program a co-ed opportunity.

“The West Northumberland Girls Hockey Association is pleased to host the Canadian Tire First Shift Program in cooperation with Hockey Canada,” says executive member Greg Brocanier, who oversees coach and player development. “While the WNGHA​ is committed to supporting the growth of girls’ ​competitive and house league ​hockey​, our executive board decided to host a co-ed program to help grow the sport of hockey for both boys and girls through this program in our community. By offering a co-ed program both boys and girls can experience all that hockey has to offer.”

The registration fee is $199 and includes full Bauer hockey equipment and runs for six weeks. The program begins January 29th and each skate is once a week for one hour.

Only the first 45 players registered will be accepted. Registration can be completed through the WNGHA website at

“WNGHA is focused on using hockey to teach our female members the value of fair play, good sportsmanship, teamwork, fun and integrity,” Brocanier noted. “We believe by introducing girls at a young age to hockey, and the benefits it provides, that we are providing a sport for girls that they can play for the rest of their lives and enjoy the health benefits of being active, as well as the friendships they make over the course of their hockey career.”