Should be enough for two Midget teams this year
As the evaluation skates started last week, the numbers were looking pretty good in the upper age groups. According to Slave Lake Minor Hockey Association (SLMHA) President Chris Taylor, enough kids are registered for two Midget teams and the same for Bantams.
Things don’t always work out the way they are supposed to, but at the Midget level, at least, two teams in a town the size of Slave Lake indicates a fairly healthy program. The trend in recent years has been downward in terms of numbers registering, and last year there were only enough for the single Midget squad.
Overall, registration numbers are still lower than they used to be (193 as of Tuesday last week), but as noted, the balance is better than in some recent years. The breakdown is as follows, per Taylor’s email to The Leader: three Novice teams, three Atom teams, two Pee Wee teams and one Pee Wee/Bantam girls’ team. The girls will play in the All Peace Hockey League and the rest will again by the Alberta Interlock League.
In addition to the above-mentioned, the SLMHA expects to have a ‘Pre-Novice’ group (called ‘Little Lightning’) and a ‘Learn-to-Play’ group (Minis), who Taylor says “will have inter-squad games and will likely have some games against our nearest neighbours.”
The pre-season started off with three-on-three fun tournaments on the second weekend of the month, followed by the evaluation scrimmages during the week. Players will be assigned to ‘A’ or ‘B’ teams this week or next, coaches will be assigned and practicing for the regular season should soon follow. Regular season schedules have not yet been announced, but the Midgets usually get going first, either late this month or early next.