Kids to learn hockey skills – with safety in place


A dedicated hockey coach is urging parents and kids not to miss the chance of getting onto the ice this fall.

Lee Magwood, president of Killarney Minor Hockey, says that with good safety protocols in place at the Shamrock Centre, youngsters will benefit richly from the experience.

“These kids have been at home, doing nothing, and they are going stir crazy,” said Magwood. “Hockey is a way for them to get out, and get active. And I’d like them to feel secure that they are going to the Shamrock Centre, and it will be clean and safe.”

Recreation manager of the facility Wendy Giesbrecht said she also hopes to see the youngsters return to the ice.

“We are really looking forward to having our Minor Hockey youth come back for another season of hockey,” said Giesbrecht. “It will feel quite a bit more ‘normal’ with the sounds of kids and the slapping of pucks filling the rink again. The Municipality and Minor Hockey have all worked very hard to make sure we have our protocols in place, and are providing a clean, safe facility and hockey program.”

Registration for Killarney Minor Hockey is now underway, and all being well, the ice should be going in on October 1, said Magwood. He especially wants to encourage the under-sevens not to miss out on the opportunity of skill development.

And your child doesn’t require experience on the ice to take part.

“People are under the impression that their kids need to know how to skate,” said Magwood. “It’s not true. We will teach them the skills. As long as they can stand up on their own in their skates on the ice, we can teach them.”

In compliance with COVID-19 guidelines, social distancing can be achieved at the Shamrock Centre, he added.

“We will have extra dressing rooms, and social distancing for the kids,” said Magwood. “We are allowed 19 kids through Hockey Manitoba, but we can have two groups split on the ice, so that would be 38 kids, as long as we can facilitate the dressing rooms. We can have 10 kids per dressing room.”

With the pandemic guidelines in flux, Magwood is not able to predict at this time whether there will be games, or travel to other communities for the teams. The point is to have fun, learn the skills, and become part of a team, he said.

“Hockey is more than a game,” he said. “It’s good for them in so many other ways. The kids learn good listening skills, they learn hockey skills, and how to be a team member, they learn coordination, and they learn how to know when it is their turn. All these skills help kids their whole life. And a coach is like a boss in later life. Plus they learn that the harder they work, the more medals they get.”

Bonding is also important for young players, said Magwood – even though they can’t have the same physical contact during the current pandemic.

“Kids have their own water bottle,” he said. “No one shares. The only thing we share is passing the puck. The big thing is the kids stick together. They play together, they meet at the playground; everyone gets the same passion to see the kids play and win. You just have to show up, and let the kids have fun. They get away from their parents for a while, and learn from someone else. And if we don’t have games? Then we are going to have to be really creative.”

One change to this year’s hockey prep is to bring extra hand sanitizer in your hockey bag, added Magwood. 

“And you have to wear your cloth mask inside and outside the building,” he said. “Now (as of Friday) we can take off the mask once we get where we are going in the building.”

Giesbrecht said that if everyone follows the health guidelines, more recreation opportunities could flourish in the centre.

“It’s a collaborative effort,” said Giesbrecht. “There are certainly a number of regulations to follow and restrictions to abide by, but if it means we can proceed safely and see our recreation rise up in a fuller capacity once again, then it’s certainly worth the effort.”

Online registration for Killarney Minor Hockey is underway now, and can be done by visiting: 

The age categories include Under-7, Under-9, Under-11, Under-13, and Under-15. 

“If you can’t do the registration online, you can contact me at 204-523-1979 for assistance,” said Magwood.

BACK ON ICE IN OCTOBER – Coaches (from left) Lee Magwood, Miles Jones, Shayne Skeoch, and Reid Opperman were already busy with hockey schools this time last year. The skating ice is scheduled to be back at the Shamrock Centre in October.


FAMILY OF STARS – Hockey coach and president of Killarney Minor Hockey, Lee Magwood, pictured with his three boys: Finn, age 4 (below, right), Dane, 8 (left), and Liam, 10. The youngsters all play on the Killarney Stars hockey team, slated to begin their ice practice in early October at the Shamrock Centre.