ATHABASCA, BOYLE — It’s the best game you can name, sang Stompin’ Tom Conners and registration is now open in for the 2021-22 minor hockey season in both Athabasca and Boyle.
“Right now, we only have two kids registered for U13 (formerly Peewee),” said Boyle Minor Hockey Association (BMHA) treasurer Amy Boutette July 22. “Our registration just opened a couple weeks ago so we're giving it about three more weeks.”
She added no U18s (formerly Midget) have signed up and the association is still in search of a president.
“Registration deadline is Aug. 14; that's the last day we're taking registrations just to get numbers,” said Boutette. “We'll take registrations until Dec. 31, but after Aug. 14, the late fees apply.”
Boyle Blazers fees are $105 for U7 (formerly Initiation), $205 for U9 (formerly Novice), U11 (formerly Atom) is $280, U13 is $330, U15 (formerly Bantam) costs $405 and U18 is $505 with $100 added to each after Aug. 14.
For the Athabasca Hawks the fees are $260 for U7, $580 for U9, U11 is $610, U13 is $640, $680 for U15 and $730 for U18.
Athabasca and District Minor Hockey Association (ADMHA) president Dustin Pysyk said July 22 there have been 80 youth sign up since registration opened July 1, but he’s hoping more younger players join.
“We will be struggling – our numbers are low in U7 and U9,” Pysyk said. “We need to work on getting more kids out and introduce them to the game of hockey and we offer 50 per cent off for first time players.”
He added that younger players also typically means younger parents to take the place of several veterans on the current executive board as their children age out of the league.
“We have five new (board) members out of the nine from last year,” he said. “Was it easy? Not really to get people to step forward … the nine that were there last year, our kids are almost out of hockey so we’re not going to be around much longer.”
For Boyle, first time U7 and U9 players only pay the $55 insurance fee.
The fees include paying for the ice time and jerseys in Boyle – $100 jersey deposit is required in Athabasca – but all players must provide their own equipment and hockey socks. Players practice twice a week and will have league games which vary between home and away games and once the teams are set, they play a series of tier games to determine what level they are at.
“It depends on what tier you're in and the higher the tier usually the further you travel, which, we understand most parents have a hard time with, but once they get used to it (they) realize it makes your winters go by really quick," said Boutette, adding that last winter was hard for her own children not having hockey to distract them for the winter."
“We have to follow Hockey Alberta and the Alberta Health Services standards, but as of right now everything seems to be running normally,” she said.
The measures included additional hand sanitizer stations and a touchless water fountain.
"We've gotten a new water faucet so, it's all touch-free; you just stick your water bottle under it like the ones at school,” said Boutette. "We've done all of the standards that we needed to get our arena back to open and running.”
The Athabasca Regional Multiplex already has touchless faucets and only needs to install more hand sanitizer stations.