As­so­ci­a­tion has new di­rec­tor

Matthew French skates into new role with Bay Arena mi­nor hockey

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY TERRY ROBERTS edi­tor@ cb­n­com­pass. ca

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.

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