Association has new director
Matthew French skates into new role with Bay Arena minor hockey
The Bay Arena Minor Hockey Association has a new technical director.
Well-known hockey player and Bay Roberts native Matthew French started in the position on Oct. 18.
“Matthew stood out,” said Perry Mercer, president of the Bay Arena Minor Hockey A ssoc iation . “ Through his connection with hockey in this area, playing junior hockey, and his involvement with hockey outside the province, we felt he had the right background.”
Mercer said there were nine or 10 “ worthy candidates” from across Canada and “overseas.” But he said th e a ssoc iation was inclined to go with someone with a local connection.
“ We wanted someone who lived in the area and someone served by the association,” Mercer added.
He said four “ local candidates” were interviewed, and French got the nod.
“ They were all capable of taking the position,” Mercer stated.
French said he was excited about the job, which allows him to immerse himself into a sport that has been his passion since he was a young boy.
As technical director, it’s French’s job to ensure the association runs smoothly. He’ ll also devote some of his time to on-ice coaching, where he p lans to emphasis the importance of good skating skills.
“ This is my chance to give back to the association that has given me so much over the years,” French said.
The job is seasonal, and usually runs from September to April . After two calls for applications, Mercer said it’s a relief to finally have someone in the position.
“As a board of volunteers, we’re all busy in our own lives,” he said. “ When you have paid staff in place, you can breathe easier because you know things will get done.”
Meanwhile, enrolment with the association is on par with last year, said Mercer, with roughly 300 boys and girls signed up.
Mercer noted an unusual trend this year, with a “ fair number” of new players enrolling at levels other than squirt and novice. He credits a summer ball hockey program for this welcomed anomaly.
“ That brings kids into hockey that may have never laced up skates before. They had fun at ball hockey and the next thing you know they’re thinking, ‘ maybe I’d like ice hockey, too,’” said Mercer.
Some other minor hockey news from the association:
• The association is hosting the Tri-Pen peewee AAA regional team this season, with Brian Drover as head coach.
• Extra skating sessions are being offered at no extra charge on Tuesday and Thursday from 3-4 p.m. for players in all divisions. The technical director will work with players on skating and shooting, with different age groups alternating from week-to-week.
• A goaltender development program is continuing into its third season.
• The association is continuing to foster the growth of female hockey.
• And for the first time in many years, the association is icing an all-star C team at the atom level.
Photo by Terry Roberts/The Compass Matthew French is the new technical director with the Bay Arena Minor Hockey Association in Bay Roberts.