The Southern Maine Youth Hockey Association (SMYHA) hosted the Boston Bruins Academy Learn to Play program at USM for four Saturdays in October. According to SMYHA President John Reidy, approximately fifty kids new to skating and hockey from the region took advantage of the opportunity to develop their skills. Included in their registration fee was a full set of equipment at no charge, with a retail value of $500, a vital part of the Bruins’ sponsorship.
Several experienced and skilled SMYHA players from Gorham assisted as mentors on the ice. Kids worked their way through skills stations that reinforced basic balance and confidence, with chairs and buckets available to those needing a hand. Gorham’s Brady Alexander, Joe Cowen and Jack Reidy were youth mentors, and Tier 4 Coaching Director David Sjostedt was also instrumental as a host. The sessions included a free-skate warmup and approximately 10-minute rotations at the skill stations.
Heather Whittaker, an alternative education teacher at Gorham Middle School, was in the stands. Her son, Trent, a second grader at Narragansett Elementary School, enjoyed his introduction to ice hockey. She described the Academy sessions as “super organized,” while the coaches and mentors also, “let them be silly kids.”