A growth spurt in Pla­cen­tia

Mi­nor hockey reg­is­tra­tion on the in­crease; con­cerns per­sist about lack of of­fi­cials

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

There are only a few things on a mi­nor hockey as­so­ci­a­tion’s wish list ev­ery year.

This in­cludes an in­crease in reg­is­tra­tion num­bers, a stress-free year and some mem­o­rable games of hockey.

With the sea­son hav­ing just be­gun, Pla­cen­tia In­ter­town mi­nor hockey has checked off one part of the list.

This sea­son, Pla­cen­tia has reg­is­tered some 98 young ath­letes in its pro­gram. That num­ber is up by 12 from the same time last year when the as­so­ci­a­tion had 86 reg­is­tered.

“I’m very ex­cited,” said Pla­cen­tia pres­i­dent Claudette Pittman. “I wasn’t ex­pected them to in­crease this much.”

She said there is a chance the as­so­ci­a­tion could push into the triple dig­its.

“We’re hop­ing to hit 100,” Pittman told The Com­pass.

Like any mi­nor sport as­so­ci­a­tion, it is im­por­tant to see growth at the younger lev­els. Mi­nor hockey is no dif­fer­ent.

A spurt at the pre-novice level can mean good things for any as­so­ci­a­tion. It means as the older groups con­tinue to progress through the lev­els, there is a sup­port sys­tem for the as­so­ci­a­tion mov­ing for­ward. An ex­am­ple of this can be found in Pla­cen­tia. “The growth is on the younger end, which is great,” said Pittman. “If you don’t have that com­ing in, the pos­si­bil­ity of you sur­viv­ing de­creases.

“That’s our build­ing block.”

Of­fi­cials short­age

While she is en­cour­aged by the in­crease in

Pla­cen­tia In­ter­town mi­nor pres­i­dent Claudette Pittman.

young ath­letes en­rolled in the pro­gram, there is some­thing that trou­bles her.

“There is a big con­cern with of­fi­cials,” said Pittman. “Many times, we end up bring­ing in of­fi­cials for tour­na­ments.”

The as­so­ci­a­tion has a small num­ber of se­nior of­fi­cials at its dis­posal, how­ever things are look­ing up.

Pla­cen­tia re­cently re­cruited a new ref­eree-in­chief. Laval High School ed­u­ca­tor John Dou­glas is the new man at the helm for on-ice of­fi­cials.

“I’m very ex­cited. I wasn’t ex­pected them to in­crease this much.”

— Claudette Pittman

“He’s go­ing to do all of the or­ga­ni­za­tion,” said Pittman.

Another piece of the ref­er­ee­ing puz­zle is in­stalling a men­tor­ing pro­gram.

“We need men­tor­ing. That’s the big­gest thing,” said Pittman.

Chang­ing per­cep­tions

This sea­son, Hockey NL in­stalled a manda­tory re­spect pro­gram for par­ents. It re­quires par­ents to com­plete a course de­signed to curb any dis­re­spect­ful be­hav­iour that can hap­pen in the sta­dium.

“We’ve had an un­be­liev­able re­sponse,” said Pittman.

Ac­cord­ing to the pres­i­dent, only two par­ents re­main to com­plete the course out of the 98 ath­letes reg­is­tered. “They’re prob­a­bly done now,” said Pittman. One thing Pittman is ex­cited about is the ad­di­tion of three new ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers. She said it is im­por­tant to have those new faces around the ta­ble.

“Any­one who has been at this a while be­comes stag­nant,” said Pittman. “It’s hard not to be­come cyn­i­cal at times, es­pe­cially in small as­so­ci­a­tions.

“It’s im­por­tant to have fresh, new ideas mov­ing for­ward.”

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/The Com­pass

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