Tag Archives: Hit the Ice

Preview: Season 6 of Hit the Ice skates on to APTN

Last month, APTN debuted an excellent new documentary series from Nish Media called Skindigenous. Now Nish returns to APTN with the sixth season of Hit the Ice.

This 15-episode season of Hit the Ice, returning Saturday at noon ET on APTN, once again focuses on Indigenous midget and junior hockey players from across the country. The goal of these 16- to 18-year-olds? To showcase their skills in front of scouts from the Canadian Hockey League and U.S. universities in hopes of landing a spot on one of those teams. The squad’s head coach? Ex-NHL coach and player John Chabot—a member of the Kitigan Zibi First Nation—who played with the Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins, coached and assistant-coached for the New York Islanders and coached in the QMJHL.

Saturday’s return catches up with players as they undertake the first of a gruelling 14-day training camp at the Jonathan Toews Community Centre in Winnipeg. The open tryouts attract boys from across the country, including Tobias Commanda-Odjick, Cody Savey, Taylor Redmond and Corbin Mariash.

As for Chabot and his team of coaches, their aim is to get the players out of their comfort zone and see how they react. What’s supposed to be a light skate gets serious pretty quickly as the coaches lay down ground rules that set the tone for the rest of the day.

Hit the Ice is not only an opportunity for Indigenous youths to snag a place on a Canadian Hockey League team or at a U.S. university but the chance for viewers to gain some real insight into what it takes to be a hockey player in this country. It was a real education for this former summer soccer player to see the extensive drills, long hours and off-ice conditioning needed to break into an elite team. Kudos to the producers for including the office discussion between the coaches; their explanation and breakdown of not only the practices themselves but individual players’ strengths made for one heck of a great first of 15 episodes.

Hit the Ice airs Saturdays at noon ET on APTN.

Images courtesy of Jeff Griffin.




Nish Media’s Hit the Ice returns for its sixth season on APTN

From a media release:

Hit The Ice returns for its sixth season. The 15-episode series features Midget and Junior Indigenous hockey hopefuls, from communities across the country, aged 16 to 18, as they are put through the paces of a real NHL style training camp by a team led by ex-NHL coach and player John Chabot. This year, for the first time ever, hopefuls had the chance to try out either via virtual video or in person in Winnipeg.

Premieres on March 10 on APTN e and APTN hd at 12:00 p.m. ET, APTN w at 10:00 a.m. MT and APTN n at 11:00 a.m CT. The Cree version of the show began on February 7.

The players are tested and put through various hockey drills and other physical challenges during the camp in Winnipeg. Unfortunately, like the pros, the players then go through cuts and watch some of their group released until the final roster is determined.

The 20 remaining prospects then experience the challenges of an NHL calibre training camp featuring physical training, on ice drills and different team building activities which make them grow not only as a team but also as men. Their ultimate payoff is to showcase their skills playing against a Team Made in Manitoba under the scrutinizing eyes of real-life Junior hockey scouts from the Canadian Hockey League as well as U.S. universities. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that few young players will ever get to experience.

The coaching & training team is led by ex-NHL coach and player John Chabot, a member of the Kitigan Zibi First Nation, who returns as head coach of the camp. Chabot played with the Canadiens, Red Wings and Penguins and had coached & assistant-coached for the Islanders as well as in the QMJHL. His team includes:

Assistant Coaches
Ron Choules, currently a coach with the Gatineau Olympiques; was the Assistant Coach for Team Canada U-18; played in the QMJHL, drafted by the Maple Leafs.

Pat Loyer, currently president of the Calgary Canucks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League; coached in the WHL and various Junior A teams; played in Major Junior for the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Alfie Michaud, Ojibwe, currently the goalie coach for the University of Maine’s hockey team; goaltended for the Canucks, the Danish Sonderjyske Ishockey and in the AHL.

Carrie Peters, a strength and conditioning coach and fitness instructor will take care of the off-ice training.

Guest Coaches
Mark Stone (Ottawa Senators player)

Calvin Pickard (currently Vegas Golden Knights player, formerly Colorado Avalanche)

Travis Hamonic, Métis (currently Calgary Flames player, formerly with NY Islanders)

Joe Cramorossa (currently Stockton Heat/AHL player, formerly with Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks)

Brandon Montour, Six Nations of the Grand River (Anaheim Ducks player).

Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood, a University of Manitoba sports psychologist.

J.P. Vigier, a former NHL player (Atlanta Thrashers) and coach.

Brad McEwen, an NHL scout with the Calgary Flames. Brad will lead the player evaluation and selection process for Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence for the 2018 World Junior Championship.

R.T. Rice, the Hit the Ice alumnus who has been invited to attend the Vancouver Canucks’ development camp.

Dan Girardin MPT, BESS, is the physiotherapist for the team.

Over the years, Hit The Ice has demonstrated its positive impact on young Indigenous hockey players with many of them now playing in the WHL, QMJHL and the OHL. Everyone’s hope is to one day see one of the players reach their goal of playing in the NHL.

About Nish Media
The series is produced by Nish Media, a multi-award-winning production company based in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Over the past ten years, producer Jason Brennan has produced over 200 hours of television for various networks such as APTN, CBC, Radio-Canada, Ici ArtV, Canal D, TV5 and CBC Docs, including Mouki, Wapikoni, La Fosse aux tigres and six seasons of Hit The Ice, nominated in prestigious television festivals including the Banff World Media Festival and Italy’s FICTS. Its first feature film, “Le Dep”, was selected to play in several film festivals including the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic, the Vancouver Film Festival, the Raindance Film Festival, ImagineNative and the American Indian Film Festival. Nish Media is currently adapting Marc Séguin’s novel Nord Alice for film, as well as producing Sonia Bonspille Boileau’s next feature film Rustic Oracle.


APTN’s Hit the Ice casting for Season 6 participants

From a media release:

The youth hockey series Hit The Ice will return to APTN for its sixth season in 2018.

Therefore, the producer NISH MEDIA is currently recruiting through a Virtual Tryout, hockey players aged between 16 and 18 years old and assistant coaches who will live the experience and the rigours of a professional hockey training camp aside ex-NHL coach and player John Chabot.

The Virtual Tryout is the first step in possibly being one of the prospects of the television show, which could bring the selected players to a top junior hockey league in a near future.

To enter and to be eligible for the Virtual Tryout, the entrant must 1) be a legal resident of Canada 2) have indigenous ancestry 3) have the authorization from their parents or guardians 4) fully and accurately complete the registration form that can be found on the Virtual Tryout at www.hittheice.tv and 5) tape a short video.

Nish Media has established a judge’s panel, which will evaluate the entries and select up as many players as it deems necessary. Players selected to take part in the show will be contacted by phone approximately one month before the shooting, which will be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba this July.

All selected players will not have to pay for any of the accommodations, travel or food. The complete details with regards to registration for the sixth season of Hit The Ice TV show are available at www.hittheice.tv by clicking on the BE A PART OF SEASON 6 button.

Candidates have until MAY 22, 2017 to register and be a part of this unique hockey experience! Hit The Ice is produced by Nish Media, a multi-award-winning production company based in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. The past seasons of this series key piece have been nominated in prestigious television festivals such as the Banff World Media Festival and by the FICTS in Italy.