Fall is here, the ice is in and it’s hockey season once again!
The Hazelton Wolverines held their season opener last weekend and despite the executives efforts to launch it in style with a tailgate party, food and music, the actual game was not well attended.
While I know last year was not a great year for our local hockey team and they suffered some serious losses which in-turn hurt attendance as well as moral on the team, this is a new year.
Over the years I have written several columns talking about the importance of supporting our local teams and I find myself doing so once again.
We don’t have a ton of extra curricular activities as it is in the Hazeltons and there isn’t a hundred things to do on a Saturday night like there would be in a city.
However, we do have a hockey team that wants to win more than we want them to. This year we have new players, new coaches, some old veterans players and some former coaches stepping up to the plate to help create a great team.
The executive is doing their part to adding more fun things for the fans such as the dirtiest car in the lot, best dressed fan, huck-a-puck is back and they are even working hard on creating a new fancy program for people.
Now their first game may have produced a loss but for anyone who was in attendance, it was an amazing first period. The team looked great and we had almost a full bench.
They got down in the second after two quick goals from Houston but still stayed in the game and dug deeper and played hard. Most importantly when the game was over many players and the coaches felt like it was a great start and that the team has tremendous potential. They didn’t even have six of their top players as they are away working for a few more weeks.
The bottom line is we need to come out and show our support. It doesn’t matter what kind of team is playing or what age the players are, having people cheer you on can be a huge factor in success and enjoyment overall.
The addition of Wolfy the mascot last year was a big hit with all the children and he will be there at every home game getting the crowd going and entertaining the children.
With that said, it brings me to the problem our minor hockey league is in this year. Numbers are down and I don’t understand it. While I appreciate the cost of hockey can be a huge obstacle for many of us, it is still one of the few things there is for our children to do in the winter in our home town.
There are ways around the cost factors too. First there is gear at the thrift stores and while it may not be shinny and new, it works great and is much cheaper than buying new equipment.
Second, there are grants that will pay for at least half the cost of hockey and Ray Sturney is working really hard on trying to get Minor hockey to see the benefits of supporting the initiation division as that is where it all starts.
So this week I am calling on Hazelton residents for two things under one cause.
First, come out and cheer on our players this weekend as they take on Lac La Hache on Saturday and Williams Lake on Sunday. Bring the whole family and come have some fun, it’s great for the team and great for our community.
Second, if you have a child that wants to play hockey and finances are an issue, look at alternatives and lets find as many ways as we can to keep our kids active.
With that said, if people make it a family outing to the hockey game, we might just inspire some children to start playing as well as a team to start winning.