the Coaldale Copperheads
With the current uncertainty of the world pandemic COVID-19, the Coaldale Copperheads season is still a guessing game.
With the municipality in a current Stage 2 situation, the Copperheads are faced with much dilemma on how the season can or will proceed. It’s been team-work endless hours amongst their board, colleagues from all Heritage Junior Hockey League teams and Hockey Alberta. They have tentatively formulated a plan moving forward with the hopes of Alberta reaching Stage 3 to help with the hockey world’s future.
Patience is needed for all die-hard hockey lovers as the earliest regular season start date of the HJHL has been pushed back to Oct. 28.
As well, the league has voted to adjust for this season the divisions of play from two to three divisions. The Copperheads will be participating in the south division against a Pod with Strathmore, Medicine Hat, Lomond and Okotoks.
A Central Division will consist of Cochrane, Airdrie, Three Hills, and Mountain View/Didsbury. North Division participants will come from the communities of Red Deer, Sylvan Lake, Rocky Mountain House, Ponoka and Stettler. Making these changes is a positive direction the league felt, for safety for all plus in addition helping with finances for all teams.
This will create less travel and time commitment with the Pods closer distances apart. Another change with that later start date will see the league moving from a thirty-eight to twenty-four regular season play; playoffs announced at a later date.
Another glitch the Copperheads learned recently was the loss of their local charter bus mode of transportation closing their doors due to COVID. The team will be searching to find another provider, a sponsor willing to provide a bus for the team, or perhaps winning the lottery.
It has been a challenging year for everyone and the non-profit organization is doing everything in their power to try to bring junior hockey to Coaldale this season.
The organization wishes to thank once again all our past supporters in so many avenues. Without sponsors and supporters, it would be next to impossible for the team to function. The Snake realize this year is going to be tough for businesses to have extra dollars but the local product is hopeful they can still reach out to those who have the means.
The Copperheads provide advertising spots in the local Snake Pit Arena for those interested, visit their website. It is the organization’s goal to continue with the entertainment it brings to the community and all the spin-offs the team provides. This year will mark the organizations 14th season based in the community of Coaldale.
In order to keep some normality, the Copperheads be hostedtheir tryout ice sessions following September long weekend. For the time being, the arena is limited to the core of players and staff only without exceptions. Hopefully, come regular season time Alberta will see improvement for sport fanatics.
Player 14 day history checks and various COVID steps will be implemented to mitigate the risk for all. A reminder to everyone hitting the ice of the new Hockey Canada rule requiring all players to wear certified full-face protection on helmets.
As announced earlier in August the team is excited to add a new bench boss Doug Paisley to the team. Joining Paisley as assistant coach will be Coaldale raised Josh Elliott who played for the team for four years.
Elliott earned several defensive-forward accolades during his time. It’s always exciting having a player come back to his roots. Together the coaches bring their coaching experience from the University of Lethbridge women’s Pronghorn hockey team last season. Copperheads board has some new additions and changes since their AGM in early August.
The team is projecting a strong roster so let’s continue practicing safety steps in our province so we can get back to hockey in the Snake Pit like it should be played.