Bay Roberts ball hockey a success
It’s the night of the big game and everybody is ready.
Players are bouncing in the Ascension Collegiate lobby waiting for their crack at the game. Parents try to peer through a crowded doorway or pile on to the stage to get a prime view of the game.
Even the coaches are ready. Players from Ascension’s male hockey team are handling cocoaching duties with a group of parents. They’re dressed in suits and look more like they’re ready for an NHL bench rather than the championship of the Bay Roberts Fall Ball Hockey League.
One boasts he is (Pittsburgh Penguins coach) Mike Sullivan and the “Stanley Cup is being raised here tonight,” while the other simply smiled and nodded his head.
When the ball drops, the action is fast and furious. Athletes scamper up and down the floor in twominute intervals aiming to put the ball in their opponents net.
There’s plenty of support coming from the bench in the form of player chants, while parents make themselves heard from wherever they are.
If a goal goes in, players pull their best celebrations out in one large burst of excitement.
From minute to minute, players improve ever so slightly. They’re making a different play with the ball or moving to an open position.
“Everyone here has gotten a lot better from when we started,” organizer Fred Simms told the last group to play.
As much as the league was about winning, it was more about seeing an increase in the player’s skill, working as a team and having fun.
In it’s first year, the league attracted 45 young players from participants born between 2006 and 2009. It’ll sure bring in similar numbers when the league recommences in a month for the winter league.
It’s building off the past success of the summer.
The focus was squarely on the game and getting children into ball hockey. Emphasis was on fun, fair play and learning the intricacies that separate it from its ice and street cousins.
Ice hockey can be expensive for some, but ball hockey is the cheaper alternative. Needing only a pair of shorts, sneakers, some shin pads, gloves, a helmet and a stick, players have more of an opportunity to play the sport as the costs of ice hockey reach new heights.
Winners and losers are quickly forgotten when the final buzzer sounds. The smiles, however, will be there for a while.
The Bay Roberts Fall Ball Hockey League is being seen as a success in its first year of operation.