Registration up in Harbour Grace
CeeBees minor attributes new house league program as cause
The new house league program at CeeBees minor hockey in Harbour Grace has had the desired result — attracting new players.
With the season just a couple of weeks old, the association appears primed to see a record number of players take to the ice.
CeeBees’ president Wendy Penney said the association has some 260 players registered. That is a rather large jump from the 214 that was registered at the same time last season.
Of those registered, there are at least 30 fresh players.
“The numbers are good,” said Penney.
The president attributes the rise in new players to a further developed house league program.
“Some players just want to come to house league and have fun,” said Penney.
Prior to the season, the CeeBees initiated a new all-star program. As a by-product of the new program, the association has a year-long house league program for all divisions. This means players who do not want to shoulder the cost of travel and playing on a rep team have the option of staying at home.
“This is something that they can do, plus play their basketball, play their soccer and their weekends are not shot,” said Penney.
Choosing to play house league comes at a reduced cost to parents. They need only pay the one fee and their children are entitled to at least one game of hockey a week for the entire season.
This division of house league and all-star shattered the old way of doing things in Harbour Grace. Traditionally, the association has ran a house league program up until Christmas and then the rest of the year was devoted to preparing for provincial tournaments. Parents were used to paying a set fee, which was annually amongst the lowest in the province.
Basing the layout of the program off of practices from similarly sized associations across the province, the CeeBees layered additional costs on top of the house league fee. Fees are in line with the fees charged by the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts, with some being cheaper in Harbour Grace.
As it is with any change the new program was met with some trepidation, but Penney said she has heard plenty of positive input on the subject.
“It’s looking positive and we have good numbers,” she said.
The new program is a pilot project for this season, and the CeeBees’ executive plan on revisiting the issue at the conclusion of this season.
Rise of the squirts
Meanwhile, Trinity Placentia minor hockey in Whitbourne is getting close to its 2013 numbers. As of last week, the association has 142 young athletes registered across all divisions.
President Eric Clarke said the number is “pretty close to last year.”
“We had 170 players registered last year,” he said.
Clarke anticipates the number being the same once the late registrations come in. The larger number of squirts who have joined the program encourages him.
It is not surprising Whitbourne would see a jump at the lower levels of minor hockey. The town is experiencing a growth spurt, with many young families moving into the area and settling down.
“It’s a good sign for the future,” said Clarke.
Registration with Placentia Intertown began last week, and numbers were not available.
As well, officials with Bay Arena minor were waiting for late registrants and did not have any final numbers to release.
CeeBees minor hockey players Ashton Coombs (front) and Riley Shute are all smiles before their atom practice at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace on Oct. 24.