No arena? No problem.

Lake Josephine stayed wet this winter, so most little islanders that felt inclined to skate needed to convince their parents to take a trip off-island. A handful of five and six year-olds have had the chance to work on their skating skills under the tutelage of BICS teacher Sarah Bristow, on Mondays after school.

“Pretty much all we do is skating drills,” says Bristow. “A few of the kids have never been on skates before so the first day we spent a lot of time practicing falling and getting back up again - the new gym floor is particularly good for falling.”

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The group has moved on to learning how to stop by using their “sticks as steering wheels” and leaning into them as they turn in a circle.

“Basically, I do this because most Bowen kids don’t get much opportunity to skate, and what they learn on roller-blades is highly transferable to ice skates,” says Bristow, who coached roller hockey in the past, but took a break from it while her sons were little. “I used to work with older kids, and they would now be in about grade 11. A number of them have gone on to play ice hockey.”

This session of roller-hockey is something of a test, says Bristow, but so far it seems the kids are loving it.

Older kids take over the gym right after the roller hockey sessions on Mondays for floor hockey, coached by Tyler Jacquet.

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