Canada Sports Day is back in Hope

Rec centre is offering two days of free activities for local residents to try out

Ice and racquet sports will be featured during “Sports Day in Canada” week

“Sports Day in Canada” is back in town next week… and that means lots of fun — and free — activities for residents to try out.

There will be hockey, ringette and figure skating for kids and badminton and pickleball for age 15 and up.

Thanks to RBC and their partners – CBC, True Sport, Participaction and a number of other corporate and community partners – the activities are free and all equipment is provided. There are even free refreshments and draw prizes, said local organizer, Mandy Arbuckle, the assistant manager at the FVRD’s Recreation, Culture and Airpark Services.

This is the fifth year for the national event, which aims to get people involved in sports at the local level. It’s especially intended for people who want to try out an activity that they haven’t done before.

The promotional material from co-sponsor True Sport says, “Good sport can be achieved by practicing the True Sport Principles of: Go For It, Play Fair, Respect Others, Keep It Fun, Stay Healthy, Include Everyone and Give Back. This is the kind of sport we want to celebrate on RBC’s Sports Day in Canada!”

There’s a week of “Community Engagement” leading up to the national Sports Day on Saturday, Nov. 29. In Hope, it starts this Sunday with three kinds of ice sports being featured.

From 12:15-1:15 p.m., kids from age five to 18 can try out ice hockey, under the guidance of local minor hockey coaches.

“They’ll be working on skating fundamentals and puck handling,” said Arbuckle, “and they’ll be splitting the ice for different age groups.”

Skates, helmets and sticks will be provided for free to those who need them.

From 3:15-4:15 p.m., the Hope & District Figure Skating Club is hosting a come-and-try event for children aged four to 10. Arbuckle said that the club’s head coach, Michelle Inancsi, would be away with some of her students at a skating competition, so the activities will be led by the club’s junior coaches. Helmet and skate rental is available at no cost on this day.

“The big thing we want to push at the ice activities is that we have information on the federal children’s fitness tax credit, Kidsport and Jumpstart,” said Arbuckle.

“We know that there is a financial barrier for some people — but we don’t know if they know about the assistance.

“Jumpstart is a Canadian Tire program that helps with registration and equipment,” she explained. Kidsport is a similar program, with many sponsors.

Application forms will be available at a staffed booth at the arena on Sunday.

The day’s final event is ringette, which will be open to kids aged 4 to 14. It runs from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. — again with equipment being provided at not cost.

“No one plays ringette in Hope right now,” said Arbuckle, “but we have the Fraser Valley Ringette Association coming out with gear, to lead the session.

“We’ve also purchased eight junior ringette sticks and a couple of rings, so people can also try it out during casual hockey time.

“The ringette group that had their tournament here last spring will be back again, February 20 to 22,” added Arbuckle.

Jersey Day in Hope takes place on  Friday, Nov. 28. Wear your team jersey, team or club uniform to school, work or play and show your love and support for sport.

On Saturday, Nov. 29, pickleball and badminton will be featured at the Silver Creek Elementary School gym, for ages 15 and up.

Recreational badminton has a long history in Hope but is always in need of new players. Currently, the drop-in nights are Wednesdays and Fridays, from 6:30 to 8:30. Drop-in fee is $2 — and the rec centre has bought a couple of racquets for those who don’t have their own.

Recreation staff member, Amber Duncan, will be leading Saturday’s free introductory session, from 1-3 p.m.

Saturday morning, local pickleball enthusiast, Jon Nigh, will be introducing his favourite game to newcomers, with the help of a handful of local players.

“I’m going to get three others to come out and we’ll show how a game works,” said Nigh. “Then we’ll get people involved.”

“The rules are pretty straightforward and simple,” said Nigh. “You just need to remember to stay out of the kitchen!”

Come and find what Nigh has cooked up, from 10 a.m. till noon on Saturday, Nov. 29 at Silver Creek Elementary.

Drop-in pickleball is at Silver Creek Elementary on Thursday nights, from 6:30 to 8:30, for a drop-in fee of $2. Paddles are provided, for those who don’t have their own.