The Kenora Catholic District School Board has started a new hockey program for students at St. Louis.

Active Living Lead Megan Derouard explained the new program.

"We brought in something very similar to the soccer skills development program. We brought in a hockey skills development program for boys and girls, Grade 4 through 6, at St Louis school. It's been phenomenal. We were only taking 30 boys because of the on ice instructor to kids ratio, and we got our 30 boys no problem. We also actually ended up with about 15 girls, so we're really excited about that. We have kids out here who are AA atom Thistles kids, and kids who have never played before," she said.

She said they decided to start the program at St. Louis because it's so close to the Keewatin Arena. Derouard explained how they fit the program into the school day.

"What we really try to focus on at Kenora Catholic is, we know that academics must come first, but we also know that athletics play a huge part in helping out with academics. There is so much research out there about stimulation and the brain and learning. We don't want to take kids out of their classroom seat we know that, so what we did is we found a way to combine their nutrition and lunch breaks, and their phys ed period to allow them to come down and play. So they're actually not missing any school time at all," she said.

They hope to expand the eight week program to include the other schools in the board.

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