Wobblers turn into first rate whizzers

BY ANDREA O'NEIL
Last updated 10:41 22/01/2013
22-KPN-stickWEB
Andrea O'Neil
STICK WITH IT: Tawa School pupil Sammy Park, 10, got the hang of skating while driving a puck at an inline hockey camp last Wednesday.

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Tawa kids took their shaky first steps towards mastering inline hockey at Grasslees Reserve last week.

Thirty-six under-10 kids attended two week-long training camps run by the Rimutaka Renegades inline hockey club over the past fortnight.

Inline hockey is played wearing inline skates, so the children had to master their skating skills before they moved onto hockey itself. There were plenty of wobbles and falls but by the end of the programme the children were whizzing about, bending pucks around courses of cones and playing a proper game on the final day.

After two days of rain last Monday and Tuesday, which forced the kids to learn hockey theory indoors, the second class finally got outside and on their skates. For Tawa School pupil Sammy Park, 10, putting on her skates for the first time was the best moment of the week.

They were coached by Team Canada inline hockey captain Dave Hammond, former Tawa College student Thomas Coulmann and Kiwi Jerreau Hohaia, who plays professionally in Germany.

The trio visited Tawa schools in December, teaching kids the game and encouraging them to attend summer camp, Mr Hohaia said.

"They love it. They're out of classwork and they're right into playing around. They just love being on skates."

There was a huge demand for the summer camps, and the coaches hope to start after- school and weekend programmes to grow the sport in Tawa.

"We're just trying to build the interest," Mr Hohaia said.

"Ultimately what we want is a club to be set up here."

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