Numbers down in minor hockey program

Pam Snow
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The minor hockey season has started at Tommy Ricketts Arena in Baie Verte, with a 20 per cent decrease in participation.

"We have 75 registered this year, which may sound good but it's actually down from last year by 20 per cent," said Arlene Burke, president of the Baie Verte Minor Hockey Association. "We had close to 100 take part last year in the program."

Baie Verte - The minor hockey season has started at Tommy Ricketts Arena in Baie Verte, with a 20 per cent decrease in participation.

"We have 75 registered this year, which may sound good but it's actually down from last year by 20 per cent," said Arlene Burke, president of the Baie Verte Minor Hockey Association. "We had close to 100 take part last year in the program."

The minor hockey program is open to youth from pre-school age to 18. Ms. Burke said the decline in participation in sports such as minor hockey is worrisome.

"There are 150 kids in Baie Verte Primary and the program is open to all the surrounding communities like Seal Cove, Wild Cove, Middle Arm, so there should be no reason why our program should be down in numbers," said Ms. Burke. "It's important for kids to take part because it takes kids involved in local sports to keep the recreation facilities up and running."

The Baie Verte Minor Hockey Association also helps kids get started by not charging a registration fee for the first year.

"For those 12 years and younger, the Baie Verte Minor Hockey Association won't charge them a registration fee for first years," said Ms. Burke. "All that has to be paid is the $51 fee that Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador charges."

Equipment is also available for any player who doesn't want to have the extra expense of purchasing new equipment.

"The parents don't have to go out and buy all new equipment for their children, especially if the child is not sure if they will like it or not," said Ms. Burke. "We have a lot of second-hand equipment here that kids have grown out of over the years and some more equipment has been donated.

"So they can come in and use that equipment if they like, instead of going and buying new equipment for their son or daughter."

Along with the seven divisions of minor hockey playing during the winter months at Tommy Ricketts Arena, there are other programs and groups also taking to the ice.

This year the arena is hosting a Tiny Tots program on Tuesday evenings that allows parents and their children to skate together. There is also a Learn to Skate program for anyone interested on Thursday evenings.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings are dedicated to Family Skate, with Men's Recreation games taking place on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Anyone interested in more information on minor hockey can contact Arlene Burke at 532-8057. To get further Information on the Tiny Tot or Learn to Skate programs, contact Colene Drover at 532-8326.

Organizations: Baie Verte Minor Hockey Association, Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador, Tiny Tots

Geographic location: Baie Verte, Seal Cove, Middle Arm

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