Bay Roberts ball hockey a suc­cess

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER TC ME­DIA COL­UMN nmercer@cb­n­com­

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.

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