Lake Cowichan Minor Hockey president’s message

It has been my pleasure to serve as your president of Lake Cowichan District Minor Hockey Association this season.

It has been my pleasure to serve as your president of Lake Cowichan District Minor Hockey Association this season.

It has been a fun and rewarding challenge thus far and I certainly am not alone in this position. I have a wonderful support team to work with and I would love to take this opportunity to reach out to the remainder of the LCDMHA executive members and thank them all for their efforts, input, creativity and support. Without you guys, my job would be impossible. Thank you doesn’t seem quite sufficient — you are all integral in your positions.

This has been an interesting year with lots of new changes and challenges. The removal of body checking in all levels of recreational hockey has taken effect and I am very proud of our bantam team, who, for the most part are second year players who have had to adapt to this change more than some of the other players. Thank you for your continued discipline in staying out of the penalty box.

Our goals at LCDMHA remain the same: the development and growth of the sport of hockey locally.

Four tournaments this year have helped Lake Cowichan begin to increase the amount of hockey locally and strengthen the knowledge of the association members as a whole as far as what it takes to host tournaments so that we can continue this on an annual basis. This would also not be possible without the continued dedication of the coaches, parents, team managers and of course the arena staff — kudos to you all.

Preparations are also underway to bring both an increase and a higher level of development to the Lake. We have skills clinics all day on Feb. 6 at an affordable price. This was accomplished through working closely with Cowichan Lake Recreation’s Programmer, John Cummings.

Greg Clayton has done a great job of growing hockey with the girls. They practice as a group bi-weekly and the enthusiasm has been contagious. The skill development and increased confidence is obvious as well.

LCDMHA is still very saddened by the collapse of the midget team this season. We continue to be optomistic that the midget players will register early and we can ice a midget team again in 2012-13. We are also looking at creative initiatives to encourage first-time hockey players to register. With the removal of body checking, hockey is fun for players of all ages and genders.

Jan. 21 is the 41st annual Minor Hockey Jamboree. This is a community festival of hockey and is an inspirational event for the younger players who get to enjoy some ice time with the “big kids” in the skills event. This is open to the public and we will have raffle baskets and 50/50 draws throughout the day.

This is a very busy year for our family ,as we have three hockey players playing this season. My husband and two kids also officiate. We have an average of eight to 10 ice times every weekend. We are grateful that we live very close to the arena — especially when one of the kids informs you 15 minutes from game time that he’s left his skates in his ref bag from the game he officiated earlier that morning. Hockey provides us with a chance to be busy as a family.

We are usually at the rink together supporting our kids which is one of the great things about hockey. It is demanding on the family with early dinners before practices, early practices before school in the morning and being up earlier on the weekends for hockey than I am during the work week. However, for our family, it means we spend time together, supporting each other in the sport that we love.

Thank you to the community and all of our sponsors big and small. Your contributions are huge and make the difference between playing in tournaments away or not being able to travel and missing out on what most would consider the best part of the year.

We hope you will all join us at the Jamboree so that we can show our gratitude in person.

Jackie Cummings, LCDMHA president