Reg­is­tra­tion up in Har­bour Grace

CeeBees mi­nor at­tributes new house league pro­gram as cause

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

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.

Pro­gram­ming change

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.

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/The Com­pass

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.

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