Following a few relatively quiet months for the Williams Lake Hockey Association executive members, coaches, players and parents are starting to think about the upcoming season in the lakecity.
For Krista Lindsay, the WLMHA bantam and midget house co-ordinator, the 2019/20 season is looking bright.
“We’ve extended registration from June 15 to Aug. 1, where normally you would pay a $100 penalty for late registration,” Lindsay said. “This year because of changes in our economy we’ve decided to wave the $100 fee and hopefully that will relieve some of that financial burden.”
Currently sitting around 500 registered players, Lindsay said rep division tryouts in atom development, peewee female, peewee tier 2, bantam tier 2, midget female and midget tier 2 will get underway early September, while house assessments will follow mid September.
Also back in September for another series of camps will be power skating specialist Aaron Konecsi, head coach and director of player development with Kelowna-based AKHockey. Konecsi has developed skating and skills for teams and associations such as the Kelowna Rockets, Vancouver Canucks, Hockey Canada Skills Academy, Czech division one pro league teams, and several junior A squads in the BCHL.
“He’s unreal,” Lindsay said of Konecsi’s clinic. “We got good response, he’s worked with NHL players so that really resonates with the kids and also, to follow, he’s putting on a coaching clinic with the power skating that really helps us.”
Prior to that near the end of August until early September, another Esso Girls Fun Day camp is in the works.
They’ve fully moved the 2019/20 novice and initiation divisions to Total Ice Training Centre, giving players more opportunity for skill development on the smaller ice surface.
Volunteers, especially coaches, however, are needed for the upcoming season, Lindsay said.
“Right now we need five or six midget division coaches, at least,” she said.
“We have amazing coaches that have come back to help out, but there are just so many areas we need volunteers: evaluators, team parents, division managers and coaches in some age groups. It would be great to see people involved, or previously involved, come give us a hand.”
Coaching clinics will be provided to new coaches, Lindsay said.
“You don’t need a ton of experience,” she added. “We’ll get you some. I’ve been a team coach or parent for both my boys for the past 10 years and I can say it’s fun and it’s rewarding.”
For players, the annual WLMHA Hockey Equipment Swap, run in conjunction with Caribou Ski Source for Sports, will be happening this year on Wednesday, Aug. 28 at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex for anyone in need of some gear.
Looking back on the 2018/19 season, some of the association’s players are coming off successful campaigns that saw them earn BC Hockey accolades and scholarship money as they enter their post secondary educations.
Williams Lake Midget tier 2 captain Cade Enns was awarded the BC Hockey Dary Rota Scholarship, and the WLMHA Kenny Loewen Memorial Bursary, Gabrielle Pierce was presented the BC Hockey North Central District Scholarship and the WLMHA Harry Buchanan Memorial Bursary for a player who has showed exceptional contributions to the WLMHA.
Midget player and referee Logan Hutchinson also picked up a BC Hockey officiating scholarship.
WLMHA local bursaries — the Tyler Tenning Memorial Bursary and the Leon Whitford Memorial Bursary — went to Thomas Burke and Olivia Hammond, respectively.
All BC Hockey awards were announced at its annual general meeting at Sun Peaks in June.
“Our association, at a grassroots level, is producing some kids who are doing very well at the zone level, academic level, collegiate level, provincially, and it’s awesome to think they’re coming from our community.”
Team sponsorship, meanwhile, is still available for some teams, Lindsay said. Anyone interested can contact WLMHA office administrator Kathy Smith by phone at 250-392-2211 or by e-mail at email@example.com.