Minor Hockey Week packed with action
As it has for decades, minor hockey continues to provide an outlet for young people to get fit and have fun amongst their peers. With Minor Hockey Week scheduled to take place Jan. 15-22, there’s more fun to be had.
The annual event includes tournaments throughout the Trinity Conception region, with CeeBees Minor Hockey, Bay Arena Minor Hockey, and the Trinity Placentia Minor Hockey Association all hosting tournaments.
In Harbour Grace, the first Dan Cleary Novice Jamboree tournament will be held at S. W. Moores Memorial Stadium from Jan 14-16.
Wendy Penney, secretary for CeeBees Minor Hockey, says 10-12 teams will take part, with every player leaving the tournament with a medal.
“That’s the new focus Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador has taken with the novice kids,” says Penney. “It’s not all about the scores and things like that. It’s about getting out there and having fun.”
With so much competition from other sports, Penney says Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador has been encouraging regional asso- ciations to increase exposure through public relations initiatives.
Since hitting the ice in October, the association has been quite active in the community, most notably by helping the stadium obtain a defibrillator with help from the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Players also participated in local Santa Claus parades in the lead-up to Christmas.
Enrolment for CeeBees Minor Hockey is up from last season, when 215 players were registered. The association has 265 skaters this year, and Penney attributes that to growth in female hockey. At the end of last season, it had an Esso Fun Day where female hockey players could invite fellow girls for daylong activities, including a pizza party to cap it off.
“ They’re playing both female hockey, and they’re mixing in with the male divisions as well,” she says, adding the increase in numbers is great when considering the close proximity of Bay Arena Minor Hockey.
“It’s great to have two minor hockey associations that are viable in this area,” says Penney.
In Bay Roberts, Bay Arena Minor Hockey president Perry Mercer says numbers are on par with previous years, with 300 children registered. There are seven all-star teams and female teams attending provincial tournaments, as well as novice teams taking part in jamboree events.
“I’d like to see more, to tell you the truth,” says Mercer. “ We have about 300 kids registered, and there’s a whole lot more kids in our area than that. There’s so many other things for kids to be involved in these days.”
Mercer says the association has organized new skating and shooting camps offered freeof-charge to members.
On Jan. 20, there will be a pair of free skates offered at the arena, with cake and soft drinks up for grabs. Then it will host a bantam B tournament in Bay Roberts, Jan. 20-23.
Hockey, along with providing the opportunity for kids to get physically active, provides a social outlet for them, according to Mercer, and it’s a sport the whole family becomes engaged in.
“ Very seldom do you see parents just drop off kids and pick them up when it’s done,” he says.
The engagement certainly benefits organizations like Bay Arena Minor Hockey when it comes to attracting volunteers. Mercer says the Bay Roberts association has 80 volunteers registered with Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador.
“ That’s quite a number of volunteers required to run an association,” he says.
The Trinity Placentia Minor Hockey Association, based out of Whitbourne, is hosting the bantam girls all-Newfoundland tournament Jan. 14-16, and the following weekend it will welcome an atom A tournament.
Eric Clarke, president of the association, says enrolment is up by 35-40 kids, giving it a total of over 220 youth.
“ There’s still people calling wanting to get into it, so it’s possible we could grow more for another month.”
It has a pair of midget teams, which had not been the case for some time, and the only division without two teams represented by Tri-Pen comes in the atom divison.
To help encourage ‘more participation, the association reduced the registration fee from $180 to $100 for anyone ages 10 and under. Of that $100, $52 must go to Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador to cover insurance costs.
“Basically, we’re charging them $48 to play minor hockey this year,” says Clarke, adding the association may also be benefiting from families returning home as operations gear up for the Vale Inco project in Long Harbour.
Bay Arena Minor Hockey president Perry Mercer says minor hockey gives kids an opportunity to get fit and have fun with their peers. Minor Hockey Week in Newfoundland and Labrador is taking place Jan. 15-22.
CeeBees Minor Hockey was out in full force at the Carbonear Santa Claus Parade on Dec. 12.