Minor hockey has returned this month, but not without one disappointment.
This year will not see a Cowichan Lake Midget-League team grace the ice.
“We only had six registered players,” Cowichan Lake Minor Hockey Association president Jackie Cummings said.
“You can’t make a team with only six players.”
Disappointing to say the least, Cummings said that at least there’s a silver lining to the news, in that players were offered carpools, and spots on the Cowichan Valley Tier 3 Midget team. So far, only one player, Doug Mackey, has taken them up on the offer.
The overall number of players has gone down slightly, to 115, though no additional teams have been lost.
This year will see the same Initiation League setup as last year, with one particularly large team broken up into two during Sunday games at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena. The Initiation League is the youngest age group, with kids aged four to six.
Next up is the Novice League, which will have one team playing this season.
This league is made up of kids aged six to eight.
The Atom League (ages eight to 10) will also see one team on the ice.
There will be two Peewee League (ages 11 to 12) teams; the same as during last season.
This year will see one big Bantam League (ages 13-14) team, which is something of a problem.
This has come about as a result of this season’s brand new body-checking ban. Girls that had signed up for an all-girls league in Duncan are now wanting to play in Lake Cowichan.
“We had a lot of girls wanting to come back to play with their friends,” Cummings said.
Out in Duncan last weekend, 12 local players were trying out for spots in a competitive team. As such, as of press time, Cummings wasn’t sure as to the total number of Bantam players to take part in the local team. She’s hoping for anywhere between 14 and the mandated maximum of 19.
The Gazette will print the results of last weekend’s final round of competitive league tryouts as soon as they become available.
One of the unique highlights to this coming hockey season will be four local tournaments, during which time each local team will invite three visiting teams to compete against.
“I’m pretty excited to invite these teams and share our great rink,” Cummings said.
From October 22-23, the Novice team will hold their tournament. November 25-27 will have the Atom League host their tournament. December 9 to 11 will see the two Peewee League teams holding their two tournaments. From January 13 to 15, the Bantam League team will compete in their tournament.
A recent referee clinic by local referee in chief Kelly Bergstrom and Southern Vancouver Island BC Hockey referee in chief Steve Marsh resulted in around 20 local referees becoming prepared for another exciting season of hockey.
“It’s looking pretty good. There are still clinics available,” Cummings said. For more information on these clinics, peruse www.bchockey.net.
The Gazette will keep up to date on the Cowichan Lake Minor Hockey Association teams throughout the season.