Kids in the nine to 12 age category head onto the ice for the final game of the Summer Hockey Program at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena. Kids in the six to eight age category played earlier in the morning. All kids participated in the week-long program.

Kids in the nine to 12 age category head onto the ice for the final game of the Summer Hockey Program at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena. Kids in the six to eight age category played earlier in the morning. All kids participated in the week-long program.

41st annual Summer Hockey Program at Cowichan Lake Rec

Kids participating in the last game of the Summer Hockey Program were pumped as they made their way onto the ice.

Kids participating in the last game of the Summer Hockey Program, hosted by Cowichan Lake Recreation, were pumped as they made their way onto the ice. From rinkside, they could be heard in the locker rooms belting out a chant and encouraging each other for a good game.

The hockey program is an annual event, one which provides kids with an opportunity to learn skills, power skating, conditioning, and to participate in games, both on and off the ice.

This year, there were over 70 kids participating, with approximately 75 to 80 per cent of them coming from outside the Cowichan Lake area, according to staff member Rob McFarlane.

“One family came from as far away as Toronto,” said McFarlane.

The program ran from Aug. 13 to 18, and catered to kids as young as six years old. McFarlane says that the main objective of the camp is to ignite passion for the game within the kids.

Steve Lingren, local sports icon — recently added to the sports wall of fame in the arena — was head instructor.

Miriam Coghlan, a Lake Cowichan resident, went to the arena to watch her grandson, Ben, play in one of the final games on Friday.

“Steve has a great reputation here,” said Coghlan. “He’s really good with the kids.”

Coghlan says this is the first year Ben has attended the camp, as he and his family live in Nanaimo, and she was happy to have an excuse to have the family around for the week.

The scores for the games on Friday were not recorded, as McFarlane says it’s more about sportsmanship and fun.

“We even switched refs halfway through,” he said. “The score doesn’t matter and we wanted to take them away from the one on one.”

All in all, kids had a blast and many will be returning next year.