Instead of flying, black pucks hitting the back meshing at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre arena last week, it was small, plastic white balls.
The change in gear was the result of the four-session junior golf training program, sponsored by the Prince Rupert Rampage senior men’s hockey team.
And while the group would have loved to add more participants, they unexpectedly maxed out at 26 kids without any prior advertising.
“When we first started it, we were talking about advertising and stuff and by the time we put it together, word of mouth had gotten out and [organizer] Brett Stava said ‘I’m full’, so we sold out at 26,” said Rampage general manager Ron German.
The sessions were held last Monday and Thursday and this week on Tuesday and Thursday and they’re led by ex-Prince Rupert Golf Course club pro Moe Hays.
“[Moe] is out here doing it for nothing, just enjoying it, so I think the kids will listen to him and get ahold of the fundamentals,” said German.
Last Monday the participants, the majority of whom had never golfed before, practiced with lighter, hollow golf balls and exercised their swing, pummelling the balls into the backboard glass and meshing.
“If the kids are eager, they’re going to get lots out of him. He’s going to give them everything he can,” said German.
The students will be receiving a Rampage golf shirt and have gotten extra help with their golfing prowess through Stava and many of the current Rampage players.
“It’s just like minor hockey. We’ve got to invest in these young guys because this is a sport that they’re going to be doing the rest of their lives, so we just wanted to give back a little bit to the kids … because they’re our bread and butter. They’re our fans and with the kids comes the parents and that’s what makes the team work,” the manager said.
The team is looking at adding extra sessions for participants who missed out in the future and the team will hold their annual charity golf scramble, organized by former player Danny Wright, in July with more details to come.