100 Mile House Minor Hockey is bouncing back.
Treasurer Mandy Baboulas said they are currently sitting at about 200 players, back to pre-COVID numbers, and having a busy year.
“We have more teams than we have had in the past with 12 teams,” she said. “It’s very exciting.”
The association this year ran a successful FirstShift program, which is open to anyone six years and older who have never played hockey before. Those who register get a full set of gear. A few dozen signed up, most of them between the ages of seven and 13.
Baboulas said the program is an affordable way for families to experience hockey without breaking the bank. Kids get an opportunity to practice on the ice and see if they want to play.
Two of the teams this year are all female, while the U11/13/15 division is a mix of ages, “which is really exciting for our association,” Baboulas said. “We have a lot of younger girls coming through our program.”
There is also a U18 female team.
There are two rep teams this year – U13 and U15. The association has not had a rep team in a while, said Baboulas. It’s a great experience for these kids to play a higher level of hockey.
There are also U13 rec and U15 rec teams playing this year.
Baboulas said there were so many prospects for the U11 division that they created two teams this year.
The U9 team has 35 children who play as one group. Most of the players will move up to U11 next year.
The U18 boys team is coached by Gord Moore. Many of the team members have been playing together since U7/9 and are a special group of boys, Baboulas said.
“They are everything you want younger players to look up to. The way they carry themselves, the way they come dressed to the rink. A great example for the younger athletes.”
U7 are the first-year players – the Timbits. “Cute as buttons,” Baboulas said.
Practices are held twice a week: once during the week and once on the weekend. Rep teams have a third practice early morning.
The tier four U15 rec provincial championships are being held in 100 Mile House in March.