The Williams Lake Recreational Hockey League is opening up a 40-plus league for players this season. Pictured are a previous season’s WLRHL ‘A’ division champions, the Anaham Athabaskans. (Photo submitted)

Williams Lake rec hockey opening up 40-plus league

“I know there’s a lot of interest out there,” O’Hara said

The Williams Lake Recreational Hockey League is offering a new league to house players 40 and over this fall and winter.

Between the four of them, Steve O’Hara, Mark Chestnut, Bryan Garfield and Tim Lloyd have been running the WLRHL after taking over for the late Bruce Mack. After learning the Inter Mill Hockey League is shutting down after an incredible 40-year stint, the quartet brainstormed to come up with ideas to house those players in limbo.

“Historically the mill league that played Sunday nights wasn’t doing so well with the way the economy was going and we saw there was quite a bit of interest for older players who don’t have anywhere to play,” O’Hara said. “We thought we would take that ice time and keep it, and create a new hockey league for 40-plus players.”

O’Hara said he thinks there are a lot of players in that age group sitting at home that would like to play, however, aren’t interested in playing against the younger, fast, competitive players coming up out of minor hockey in the WLRHL.

“I know there’s a lot of interest out there,” O’Hara said.

“We don’t want anyone to be left out.”

The league is slated to get underway Sunday, Oct. 18. Rules and procedures will follow COVID-19 guidelines laid out by the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex.

“The arena has done a fantastic job following the province’s procedures with return to play and opening up the arena for us to be able to continue to play the game we love,” he said. “They’ve been so great to work with.”

Games will be played at 7:15 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. on Sunday nights.

The Williams Lake 40-plus Recreational Hockey League will run under the WLRHL banner as a component of the already existing league.

“Our goal is when minor hockey is done and players have finished their third year of midget they have somewhere to still go play hockey,” O’Hara said.

“The WLRHL gives them a place to play until they’re 40, and once they’re 40 and tired of playing against the young guys they can move into this league if they choose. The whole point is to provide an opportunity for people to keep playing hockey.”

If anyone is interested in entering a team for the Williams Lake 40-plus Recreational Hockey League they can e-mail for more information.

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