Numbers down in minor hockey: decisions to be made

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

It’s looking as if there won’t be enough kids registered in the older age groups of minor hockey this season to make two teams. At least that was the indication a week or two ago when SLMHA president Jerod Hartman got in touch with The Leader.
That has happened before and it can lead to an awkward situation where some kids end up having nowhere to play.
“That’s what we are working on now,” Harman says, “trying to make a fair decision.”
Hartman says “natural attrition,” is part of the reason for fewer registrants. Perhaps a bigger one is the recent formation of the Red Earth/Loon Lake minor hockey program, meaning kids from those communities won’t be playing on Slave Lake teams.
“We had almost 50 Loon Lake kids registered last year,” Hartman says.
Tryouts for the various teams start this week. Hartman figures pre-season games will kick off early in October.
As for the leagues, there are only minor changes. The female Bantam/Midget team plays in the All Peace Hockey League; everybody else plays in the Sturgeon Pembina Division of the Northern Alberta Interlock league. Hartman says there have been tweaks to address some of the “growing pains” noted last year. For example, the goal of the Sturgeon Pembina Division is “better tiering,” and “less travel in the lower tiers.”
In the highest tier there will more travel and it will be “very competitive,” Hartman says.

 

Midget-aged hockey players scrimmaging last week.

 

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