There will be significant changes in the hockey lives of 100 Mile House and area’s youngest players, the Mini-Wranglers (ages four), the Hockey 1 & 2 teams and the Hockey 3 & 4 teams (ages five to eight), this season.
The biggest change concerns the cross-ice system, which has now been officially approved by BC Minor Hockey.
The cross-ice system is when games are played”‘cross ways” on the ice instead of the full length of the surface, explains Phil Vaugeois, head coach co-ordinator of the three divisions.
The new system has several advantages, he says.
“It gives kids more ice time and more kids touching the puck. This way they spend less time on the bench. They also play more games.
“Some of the rules concerning how to play are a mystery, he adds.
“Since there is no blue line when you play cross ice, we’re not yet sure how offsides will be done.”
They have not played a game this season, Vaugeois adds.
“Most games are played in spring. The Hockey 3 & 4s are scheduled to have a tournament in February, while the Hockey 1 & 2s are trying to schedule a tournament for some time in January. Things have not been finalized though.”
Another upcoming change will be the after effects of the First Shift program.
First Shift is a six-week program that offers ice hockey lessons and a full set of free equipment, including brand new skates, for six- to 10-year-olds at a total cost of $200.
“Once the First Shift lessons have finished, many of the kids will be joining the Mini-Wranglers and the older teams for the spring season. We have to evaluate them first to see what level they are at, which we need to do as soon as possible.”
The older players will have to make room for the new players come spring time; the teams will be getting larger, he notes.
We definitely welcome more parents and volunteers to help us this season, Vaugeois says, adding the season goes until March.
“Our goals are for the kids to have fun and to eventually be able to join the Atoms,” Vaugeois says.
It is a step up from Hockey 3s & 4s, as the Atom hockey division is for children aged nine to 10.