Mi­nor Hockey Week packed with ac­tion

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

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.

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