Seafair Minor Hockey Association has been in the business of developing young athletes’ hockey and life skills for more than 50 years. Nigel Shackles, president of the Association, is passionate that young people should enjoy the game and have fun rather than stressing over winning all the time.
“Sure, we all love to win and no one likes to lose,” he says, “but there’s so much to learn in the process.”
Nigel points out that our kids are only kids for a very short time.
“I know it seems like forever at the time,” he laughs, “but they only live under your roof for a short period. When you look back and think, ‘what did I teach, what did I model?’ winning a tournament or a game won’t rank at the top of the list. But the kind of relationship you have with your kids, those things will last a life time.”
Letting kids have fun on the ice is a priority for Nigel and his team of coaches, administrators, and volunteers at Seafair.
“Every minor hockey association provides skating programs and skill development programs. Parents demand these programs and we provide them. It’s not enough to just practice anymore; parents expect skill development. But essentially, minor hockey is about kids playing the sport and having fun.”
To emphasize the fun and camaraderie part of belonging to Seafair Minor Hockey Association, the club organizes off ice events for the kids. One is the annual Steveston Sweep at Garry Point Park in Richmond, where for the past eight years about 150 parents, coaches, and young hockey players have volunteered their time and efforts to clean up the 75-acre park, which is located at the mouth of the ecologically sensitive Fraser River. Their cleanup has resulted in more than 100 bags of garbage being removed from the park.
Speaking about the Association’s success, Nigel notes, “When growing our club, we choose to not over promise and under deliver. We look after our kids and their parents. Parents refer us to other parents and that’s how you get players in and how you grow. Keep treating people well and they will keep coming back.”
Registration is now open for the 2017-2018 season and Nigel recommends you get the registration in for your young hockey player in early.
“It helps us secure the best ice allocation if we know for sure what our registration numbers look like,” he adds.