Bay Roberts ball hockey league conlcudes ‘successful’ inaugural season
If the empty pizza boxes and discarded soft drink cans were any indication, the first season of the Bay Roberts Minor Ball Hockey League could be considered a success.
The new league concluded its inaugural season with two hours of ball hockey action for its younger groups at the Bay Arena on Aug. 10. Teams made up of players from every team squared off for one last time to claim glory over their opponents before gorging themselves on pizza and drinks.
Like any other game, the action on the floor was intense as players fought for every inch they could muster. “We had 80 or 90 kids show up here on the last night,” said organizer Ian Flynn.
“That says a lot. With the weather we’ve had this summer, a lot of parents have said it’s great that the children had somewhere to go in the evenings, because they haven’t been able to get through the door.”
If you remove the empty boxes from the equation, the season could still be considered a success.
The league had 220 children registered and ran three divisions — two out of the Bay Arena and one at Ascension Collegiate.
Out of those three divisions, the association became registered with the Newfoundland and Labrador Ball Hockey Association and sent two teams to provincial tournaments. The under-15 squad came away with a silver medal in its tournament, while the under-17 team was a provincial champion. From those teams, 19 players went on to represent the province at the junior ball hockey nationals.
“We’re looking to test the waters about hosting some tournaments next year as well,” said Flynn.
The inaugural season for any league has the potential to be full of growing pains as organizers often learn on the fly.
For the minor ball hockey league, the biggest thing Flynn learned was to have more help around from the start. He only hired one student worker to help run three-division league.
“I learned a lot. There were some growing pains at the beginning of the year,” he said. “We weathered the storm. Parents were very understanding.”
Another lesson learned was with the registration process. This season, the start of practices and registeration ran into each other. Next season, Flynn anticipates starting a bit earlier in the year.
Offering hockey of a different kind
As everyone knows, playing minor hockey in the winter is not a cheap venture. There are many costs that come with attempting the play this country’s favourite sport. Programs such as the Canadian Tire Jumpstart program can offset them, but even then it can still be costly.
That’s what makes a ball hockey league a popular option for summer fun. It offers chil- dren the opportunity to play hockey without the considerable expense for parents.
“This was a great opportunity for those to come and play at the stadium,” said Flynn. “
They loved it. There were kids that never missed a night because this was their hockey season.”
Heading into the opening game, the emphasis was on giving the players a solid hour of entertainment for a couple hours a week. Goal scorers were not recorded and the focus was on having a good time.
“It was all about the kids having a run and a bit of exercise,” said Flynn.
The Bay Roberts Minor Ball Hockey Association concluded its debut season last week.