“No scoring. There’s absolutely no contact — for obvious reasons. They’ve got more coaches this year than they’ve ever had before. Which is a plus — they can get a little bit more individualized help with the program,” said Wes Kitchen, a parent of one of the players.
Kitchen noted teams are made up of kids aged 5-15 from Coaldale and surrounding area including Raymond and Coalhurst. He believes this season there are close to 22 players in the program.
“They get broken up into individual classifications based on your age,” he added.
Fireworks, is his son’s team. Kitchen’s son Isaac is 9 years old. Kitchen said there are two other teams — one for the younger kids and one for the older kids. This is Isaac’s third year playing recreation hockey in the community.
Coaldale REC Hockey started the season near the end of September and runs until March. The program is held at the Coaldale Arena Monday nights from 6:30-7:25 p.m. with coaching, drills and a game of scrimmage each week.
“They also get powerskating involved in there too,” added Kitchen.
In the future, Coaldale REC Hockey wants to raise awareness about the program and maybe turn the heads of hockey greats including sportscaster Ron MacLean, Wayne Gretzky and Theo Fleury. Parents of players in the program are also in the process of organizing a parent association to help raise awareness and strike up interest in the community in regards to recreation hockey.
From a parent’s perspective, Kitchen said he enjoys Coaldale REC Hockey, as it provides Isaac a chance to learn about teamwork and there is most definitely a social aspect to being involved on a team.
“That way he’s definitely playing a little bit of hockey and some social with some of the kids he goes to school with. It’s involving several communities around the area,” said Kitchen, plus the family doesn’t have to travel outside the Lethbridge County area. There is also a lower parent commitment than with minor hockey, as families don’t have to travel out of town on weekends for games or tournaments.
“It’s definitely a bonus because you don’t have all that financial criteria, as well. Everything is pretty much kept at home and in the surrounding area.”
Last season, Coaldale REC Hockey had a chance to visit and play a game at the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge — complete with live coverage on the big screen, full announcements including the official line-up of players.
“If it comes around again that will happen probably as the very last game of the year,” said Kitchen.